Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Va. Tech Student Endowment Invests Millions of Dollars

BLACKSBURG, Va. – A student investment club at Virginia Tech has outperformed every major investment index through three quarters this year.

The Student Endowment for Educational Development regularly invests millions of dollars for Tech.

“SEED has outperformed all the major indexes so far, through three quarters this year,” said Matt Jones, a senior finance major and investment group chairman.

“We compare ourselves to the S&P 500 [a financial index used to measure the movement of the stock market], and for the past three years, we have beaten the S&P benchmark significantly,” said Scott Dicke, a senior management science major and CEO of SEED.

The group invests funds of about $3.5 million granted from the Virginia Tech Foundation, the proprietary arm of Virginia Tech, Dicke said. Last year, SEED saw returns of 28.3 percent, which is 7.3 percent better than the S&P 500, according to Dicke. All the returns go back to the foundation, he said.

“It has been a down market and we have still pulled small gains,” said Davis Hebert, a graduate student in finance and an equity analyst for the consumer cyclical sector of SEED. SEED continues to exist despite the fact that the foundation has recently eliminated all their other money managers, Dicke said.

“[The Virginia Tech Foundation] feels SEED is important enough to both the school and the students to keep us when they fired all their professional money managers,” he said. “They think highly of the value and the high level of returns.”

In addition to earning money for Tech, SEED also provides students with practical experience, Dicke said.

“There is no other vehicle to invest real money through the school,” he said, “and it carries a lot of weight with job recruiters.” At least six people from SEED over the past two years are now working on Wall Street, Dicke said.

“Almost all students coming out of SEED have been placed with highly reputable companies,” he said. “It is the closest thing to a real-world experience that you can get from Tech,” Hebert said. “SEED provides a real good teamwork environment.” Students from the program speak highly about SEED.

“It develops leadership and interpersonal skills,” said Anuj Goel, a former member of SEED who graduated in May. “The finance aspect is quite strong, but the group interaction was extremely helpful in developing me as a person.

“SEED gave me the opportunity to gain solid real world experience in investing,” said Marshall Minor, also a Tech graduate. “It geared me not only for the interviews, but also for a job on the Street.”

“The organization makes investments based almost solely on long term investment growth,” Dicke said. “Social implications are taken into account,” he said, “but, we don’t actively seek out companies which serve a specific purpose. We usually [reject a company] if we thought that those implications would detract from the portfolio.

“SEED is open to anyone who is interested in joining. “There is an application because there are only a certain number of spots available,” Hebert said. “Usually, we target business majors, but it is open to anybody who wants to join.” The organization is totally student run, Hebert said. There are currently about 20 members, with 10 members in the investment group, five in the administrative group, four in accounting and CEO Dicke.

Decisions on which stocks to buy and sell are made democratically, Hebert said. Stocks are divided into eight sectors, depending on what type of company they are, he said. Each person is assigned to a sector, he said. They are in charge of researching buy opportunities for stocks SEED does not already own, as well as monitoring stocks that are already in the portfolio, Hebert said. When someone feels SEED should buy or sell a stock, he or she makes a presentation to the group and they vote on it, he said.

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