What would happen if a large sum of money were put into the hands of college students? Millersville’s Marauder Fund Student Investment Association answers this question by providing money from the Millersville Foundation to a group of student investors overseen by Dr. Mike Gumpper, professor of economics at Millersville. The students invested an original amount of $190,000 into the stock market in the hopes of making a return on their investments, and they have. As of February 2020, the Marauder Fund turned the original investment into over $253,000, an increase of approximately 33% as of February 2020. Like many investments, the fund is facing impacts now due to the current economic downturn.
The idea began as a proposal to the Millersville Foundation for a portion of the money they receive through donations to be provided to the Millersville Fund, which they in turn would invest. The Marauder Fund allows students an opportunity to invest in specific company stocks on the open market.
In 2017, Gumpper started recruiting students and began by having them run a mock version of the fund for one semester. In the Spring 2018 semester, they began trading live with the money provided by the Foundation. And, they haven’t missed a beat while dealing with COVID-19.
The fund is unique in that while it is run primarily by students, it is run as a professional organization rather than a student club. It is headed by a chief executive officer, a chief financial officer who oversees the portfolio, and five vice presidents who cover the sectors of technology, industrials, finance and real estate, consumer and healthcare. There are senior and junior level analysts who help in researching each financial sector. The VPs and analysts make stock pitches and reports at portfolio meetings on their sectors.
Besides regular meetings, the group also hosts seminars with professionals and alumni in the field. In April, the seminar series featured three former Marauder Fund executives Hannah Roeder, Justin Creighton, and Jordan Singh, who are now employed in fields related to the financial market.
Current Marauder Fund CEO, Andrew Ryan, explains what he has gained. “Being part of the Marauder Fund is a fun opportunity and great experience, it’s certainly one of a kind. The fund is a good place to grow and take on responsibility.”
Gumpper agrees with Ryan’s sentiments. “Other things students are taking away are leadership skills and building confidence which translate to whatever career students follow. I think that’s equally, if not more important, than learning the financial investment skills.“
Recently, the fund witnessed a 133% increase in female membership. VP of the technologies sector, Victoria Nonamaker, shared her thoughts on being involved with the fund and why women should be knowledgeable about economics and finance. “It is important to have varying opinions within the fund itself; a woman could have a different viewpoint from a man or even another woman,” she explains, “Women can offer different viewpoints on a particular stock or how the fund is even operated since she might have a different experience in life so far.”
Nonamaker also mentioned how her participation in the fund has provided her with more than just financial skills. “I have gained more knowledge of stocks in general after becoming a senior analyst but I would say that the most beneficial thing that I have gained out of joining the Marauder Fund is learning how to work with a team, manage a group of people and raise my confidence levels; that has helped in all aspects of my life.”
Nonamaker feels the fund allows space for everyone to learn and contribute. “Women can join in the conversation without getting sidelined.”
In the current COVID-19 crisis, Gumpper believes Marauder Fund students are experiencing a real-world challenge. “I’ve told them on a number of occasions over the last few weeks that the events that we are going through and what you are learning about how the economy reacts, how consumers react, how governments react, and how markets react is invaluable information and experience that you will be able to draw on during the next recession.”
He added that the students have smoothly transitioned all meetings and necessary business online. “I’m very impressed with the Marauder Fund’s leadership, they haven’t missed a beat.”
The Marauder fund accepts new members at the beginning of each semester, to find out more information you can find their site here: https://sites.google.com/view/marauderfund/