The Intrieri Family Student-Managed Fund at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, posted a $27,000 profit in its first year – a better return than the S&P 500 earned over the same period.
The fund did even better against the S&P when adjusted for risk, said Hunter Holzhauer, assistant professor of finance and a member of the fund’s advisory board. His Portfolio Management and Analysis class selects the 50 stocks that are included in the fund.
“The students tend to pick companies they know,” Holzhauer said. “Those tend to be larger companies, which carry less risk.
“When a smaller company does come up, they debate it a lot more,” Holzhauer said. "But they control their emotions. They’re basing their investments not on hunches, but on the numbers.”
The fund – the first of its kind at Penn State Behrend – began with a gift from Vincent Intrieri, a 1984 graduate of the college. He is senior managing director of Icahn Capital Management.
Intrieri put up $100,000. Any profit would be reinvested, he said. Money that was lost would be gone forever.
Using real money raised the stakes, Intrieri said. “When you’re working with a mock portfolio and you mess up, there’s no damage done,” he said. “But when it’s real money, with real consequences, you focus. You can’t explain it away, saying, ‘Oh, well. My model didn’t work so well.’”
The first-year profit brought the fund’s student managers Wall Street’s version of extra credit: Several faculty members, alumni and friends of the college – including Intrieri – have added another $33,000 to the account.