Student Managed Investment Fund Wins Regional Competition

Team advances to national championship in April

KENNESAW, Ga. (Mar 4, 2020) — Students in the Kennesaw State University Student Managed Investment Fund recently won first place in the CFA Institute Research Challenge Southern Classic. The honor comes as the organization prepares this week to recognize its 10th year of active training.

Kennesaw State’s SMIF team of Vincent Rosamilia, Brandon Kirk, Trevor LeGrett, and Nicholas Busson took the top spot in the finals against teams from universities like Auburn, Clemson, Alabama, and Mercer. Winning the Southern Classic means the team advances to the North American Championship that will be held in New York City in April.

Kennesaw State Student Managed Investment Firm wins 2020 CFA Institute Research Challenge Southern Classic

“It was an honor being able to represent the Student Managed Investment Fund in the Southern Regional Classic,” said Kirk, a marketing major. “KSU SMIF has played a key role in my development as a person and as a fundamental investor. [The Southern Classic] is a great opportunity to show the key skills that I have learned through participating in the fund.”

Teams from five states participated in the event, which was hosted by Kennesaw State University. The Southern Classic is an annual global competition that asks students to analyze a publicly traded company and present their report to a panel of experts. Participants gain valuable experience honing their analytic, valuation, report writing, and presentation skills.

Faculty coach Vic Wakeling, senior lecturer of finance, worked alongside industry expert Troy Harmon, chief investment officer with Henssler Financial, to prepare the students for the competition. Even with their guidance, Wakeling attributes the win to the student’s own hard work.

“It’s the Coles College education and their SMIF experience – combined with the team members’ extensive research efforts – that drove their success,” he said.

Vincent Rosamilia, a finance major and the fund’s chief executive officer, said “From the very beginning, we managed our time, we applied ourselves to every section, and we benefitted from our good team cohesion. Everything we produced in this project came from the lessons we learned in the fund.”

This is the second time that the Kennesaw State SMIF has won the Southern Classic. The team previously took first place in 2017 – the first year they ever participated – with an analysis of Delta Airlines.

Dr. Govind Hariharan, Chairman of the KSU SMIF’s board of directors and faculty advisor, said the victory at the Southern Classic helps reflects how the program helps prepare its student members ready for finance careers.

“Our goal with the Student Managed Investment Fund has always been to create a bridge between the finance skills students learn in the classroom and the careers they are working towards,” he said. “Winning this competition against some of the top universities in the Southeast demonstrates to members of the finance industry the value that Kennesaw State University students can bring to their organizations.”

Winning the Southern Classic comes at a special time for the SMIF, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary of active trading with an awards ceremony on March 5. The event will feature presentations by Marc Lasry, co-founder and CEO of Avenue Capital and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team, and Dennis Lockhart, former president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Housed within the Michael J. Coles College of Business, the SMIF began trading in 2010 following a generous $100,000 donation from G.W. Henssler & Associates. It is organized as an LLC owned by Kennesaw State University. Leveraging access to real-time financial data provided by Bloomberg computer terminals and advice from a board of industry experts, the SMIF has nearly tripled the size of the fund – currently valued at $270,000 – and continues to enjoy high placement rates among major investment firms.

-Patrick Harbin