Barton School students invest in the future of Wichita State

The Student Managed Investment Fund group.

The Student Managed Investment Fund group.

The student-managed investment fund, the newest project from the Barton School of Business, is adding a whole new dimension to investment education.

“Many schools around the country have student-managed investment simulations, but they give the students play money,” said Susan Barret, vice president of finance and operations at the WSU Foundation and Alumni Engagement. “They track their returns on paper and report out.”

But dean of the Barton School of Business, Larisa Genin, had a different vision for the program at Wichita State: real funds, real stakes and real returns. This vision became a $500,000 reality thanks to a generous gift of $250,000 from Wichita State alums Erin and Kyle Cummings, coupled with a reallocation of existing WSUFAE investments to support the initiative.

“We recognize that the university is placing a tremendous amount of trust in us,” said Manas Mabanambedu, freshman at Wichita State and stock analyst for the fund. “That trust gives us confidence. We want to see Wichita State in national headlines. We want to stand out from the crowd.”

That trust, and the opportunities it begets, promises a substantial return on investment. But the practical application is but one of the many advantages students gain. Through regular meetings with the WSUFAE investment committee, they’re able to learn from industry veterans, in addition to hands-on mentoring.

“The networking is invaluable,” Barret said. “Not many students have the chance to establish a network with such a team of seasoned experts prior to graduation.”

Paul Attwater, branch manager for J.P. Morgan Stanley, provides the students with direct guidance.

“Respect and diligence went into the process of selecting Paul Attwater as their mentor,” Barret said. “He will shape our students into excellent stewards of the gifts from our donors.”

During the nascent stages of the program, Attwater helped the students draft an investment policy statement to present to the investment committee for approval. He has also taken care to provide insight from other professionals, including former Wichita State baseball coach Gene Stephenson.

“The goal of the program is obviously to become more educated investors,” Mabanambedu said. “But hearing from Wichita State alumni has really inspired me. I realize how much I can provide to my school.”

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