By Ben Fertich ’16
Founded two years ago by myself and fellow senior AJ Johnson ‘16, the Norwich University Student Investment Club (NUIC) steadily expands membership as driven individuals look to join. Although not a requirement, the majority of our six members study business, or have strong backgrounds in business.
The idea for the club was first conceived when Ben and I were discussing the Norwich University School of Business with Professor Alex Chung after a trip to New York City. Professor Chung (new to the university at the time) noticed the lack of clubs within the business school and spoke highly of finance clubs from his prior university experiences. AJ and I took the idea and ran with it, holding our first Investment Club meeting just three months later.
Initially members of the club used a free online tool called Market Watch, a simulator, and essentially played with fake money in order to develop skills we could hopefully use in the future. In an attempt to gain funding, our club wrote to Lauren Wobby, the chief financial officer of Norwich. Wobby along with Elizabeth Kennedy from the Office of Development and Alumni Relations connected our club with a generous alumnus, Larry Budnick ‘64, an engineering management graduate. Kennedy continues to help keep our student group and Mr. Budnick connected.
“She’s like the big sister here,” he said. “She watches over them.”
Mr. Budnick was excited about the idea of students using real money to invest, particularly with the intentions of making enough profit to create a scholarship for incoming engineering students. He gave our club an initial contribution of $25,000, and it was agreed that half of all capital gains and dividends would go to an engineering scholarship. Presently the Norwich University Investment Club manages a portfolio in excess of $100,000 and is expecting strong financial growth over the next few years. Mr. Budnick also remains as a mentor for the students involved, offering knowledge and insight into financial responsibility. Mr. Budnick, who lives in Farmington, Conn., regularly visits the university and keeps in close contact with all members of the club.
“They make their own decisions, and I really enjoy it,” said Budnick, who monitors their portfolio on a daily basis. “They are fantastic students, and Norwich should be proud of them.”
Prof. Chung serves as the club’s advisor, sharing insights from his expertise in economics and finance.
Recently the club has been working hard to continue investing the money provided to us by selecting funds that best meet our long-term goals. Oftentimes this process requires long periods of deliberation between our members as we research and discuss the benefits of specific industries and sectors. All members spend significant time outside of meetings preparing and studying in order to participate and add to our twice-weekly meetings.
The Norwich University Investment Club seeks to continue its growth with motivated students who want hands on experience and an opportunity to achieve a greater understanding of investing. If you wish to join, or know somebody who does, the Investment Club meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2000 on the 4th floor of the library. For more information, contact me, Ben Fertich, at Bfertich@stu.norwich.edu.