In just six years, the Investment Society at UTSA has gone from a finance club with half a dozen student members to one that holds meetings packed with over a hundred eager future investors. It’s fitting that the student organization is something of an upstart, because it takes ambitious college students and turns them into ready-made finance professionals.
“Employers around the country have noticed us,” said Ron Sweet ‘91, the Investment Society’s sponsor and finance lecturer in the UTSA College of Business. “Ten years ago no one would ever call me about jobs. Now there are some really sizable employers that are calling and begging for society members.”
The organization meets weekly to discuss economic and market trends, major mergers or trades and any new skills the student leaders have picked up, and then break into smaller groups during the rest of the week to discuss which companies they want to trade. The students bring their directions to Sweet, who purchases or sells stocks as part of the group’s larger student portfolio.
“They’re doing exactly what they’d do in a job, except they’re doing it for an hour a week instead of fifty hours a week,” he said, “Over a couple of semesters they end up with quite a bit of true-life experience.”
Each semester Sweet also brings in actual investment managers to judge what he calls “sector wars,” essentially the teams competing for the best screening model for how to choose which company to invest in, which is valuable job training.
“For these students, they get half of what they learn from class and half from outside of class,” he said. “So when they graduate, they know twice as much.”
The Investment Society has former members at JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Barclay’s, among others. According to Sweet, these employers continually come to UTSA to recruit because their strongest recent hires are Investment Society alums.
“A lot of firms have changed how they do college recruiting,” he said. “And what we’re doing is really what firms are looking for. It’s an experience you can’t find anywhere else.”