It starts with real money—close to $700,000, provided to Geneseo’s Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) by The Geneseo Foundation. Teams of SMIF students then spend the year researching stocks, making pitches, investing money, and learning the perils and profits of investment funds.
“SMIF brings Geneseo’s School of Business education to life,” says Alexis Kruzicki ’24, a club vice president and accounting major from Buffalo, NY. “It takes everything taught in the classroom and applies it to the real world with real money and real risk. There is no other experience offered that brings you face-to-face with the reality of the financial industry and the challenges you face in such a turbulent environment.”
Very few colleges have student-managed funds as large as Geneseo’s, says Chinmay Jain, assistant professor of finance and faculty advisor to SMIF. The club mirrors the organization and operation of real investment funds, with clients, financial benchmarks, and a leadership structure that allows student members to set clear goals and expectations.
“Because we see real-world applications, it does more for us than a textbook would in a classroom setting,” says Kya Primm ’23, an economics and English double major from Bay Shore, NY.
In addition to the Edward Pettinella ’73 Trading Room, which is equipped with Bloomberg terminals, SMIF uses a wide range of materials to teach students how to analyze the financial market, such as the Wall Street Journal, LinkedIn Learning, and applied business courses like Portfolio Management and Financial Modeling. Students collaborate on stock pitches and hone their presenting and public speaking skills.
SMIF also provides networking and internship opportunities that strengthen your resume, explains Primm, who plans to pursue a career in corporate law. “The club helped me advance skills that are desirable in the job market right now.”
That experience pays off: SMIF graduates have accepted full-time positions at companies such as EY, KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, RSM, and Constellation Brands.
SMIF has a good investment track record, says Jain. “We monitor our performance on a regular basis and aim to beat our benchmark, which is composed of S&P 500 and S&P 400 indices.” But as club advisor, he ensures members learn about more than ROI. “The Foundation is interested in socially responsible investing,” he says, “so whenever we buy a stock, we look at their ESG [Environmental, Social, and Governance Index] score.”
The club also keeps Geneseo’s value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind and is open to all students, from every major, with no prior experience needed. Currently comprised of 30% women and 70% men, SMIF aims to recruit more women and more students from other majors.
“SMIF brings together all majors, classes, and interests to the real-time understanding and analysis of markets and market risks while creating a mentorship environment that encourages and fosters personal and professional growth,” says Kruzicki. “Confidence in yourself and your abilities is invaluable, and that is what SMIF brings to each student.”