It’s Friday at 8 a.m. on the Oregon State campus. While many students are trying to make it to class on time, cramming for a quiz or oversleeping, a unique subset of the student population is dressed in business suits and redefining the term “experiential learning.” Over the next two hours, these students will analyze, discuss and determine the fate of $1.6 million—a daunting task for most people, let alone students.
The Oregon State Investment Group (OSIG) consists of approximately 30 students and takes the hands-on approach of learning to a new level by actively managing an equity portfolio on behalf of the OSU Foundation. Although overwhelming at first, members are quickly immersed in the work required to handle such a significant responsibility.
“I immediately felt the weight of what I was charged with when I joined the group,” said Emily Durr, a senior finance major. “The learning curve is extremely steep—from having to read over 30 definitions of financial vocabulary a day just to understand what was going on in the meetings to living and breathing a stock you are analyzing, joining the Oregon State Investment Group is no easy task.”
During a typical OSIG meeting, students give a recap of current market conditions and trends, and sector leaders present on companies they are assigned to, providing detailed investment analysis and a recommendation on whether or not to invest.
“OSIG steps outside of the classroom and teaches each analyst how to perform technical and fundamental analysis on different stocks to determine if it is worth the investment,” said Durr. “Not only has OSIG prepared me quantitatively, but my qualitative knowledge has dramatically increased as well.”
Although the workload that comes with being a member of OSIG is intense, the benefits members gain with the hands-on experience will certainly pay off.
Jordan Hopper, a senior finance major and OSIG website administrator, will be joining Boeing in April to begin a financial analyst rotation program. In addition to teaching him financial acumen and analysis and developing soft skills and professionalism, Hopper notes that, “Most employers were interested and impressed with the line on my resume about OSIG.”
To round out the experiential learning, each year six OSIG students are selected to travel to New York City to meet with alumni and other leaders at various investment and finance firms. These students are able to visit firms of various sizes and in different parts of the industry, and network with people who can influence their post-graduation careers.
Junior finance and accounting double major and Vice President of OSIG Haleigh Rhea joined the group to advance her knowledge of investments, but has walked away with much more.
“OSIG has been the best thing I have done throughout my career at Oregon State,” said Rhea. “It has helped set me apart from other applicants when pursuing internships and future career paths.”