COLUMBUS, Miss.-- Inexperience isn’t preventing Claudia Garcia and Danielle Richardson from learning about the stock market.

 Instead, Garcia and Richardson, who recently completed their first semester as members of Mississippi University for Women’s Investment Club, are focused on turning their curiosity into dollars.

Last month, Garcia and Richardson experienced another first as they attended the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Investment Challenge Regional Conference. Garcia, who is president of the club, and Richardson, the vice president, offered presentations about The W’s portfolio, discussed its recent performance compared to the S&P 500 and reviewed the club’s stock trades.

Garcia“I was really nervous to present to the TVA since I just started learning about stocks,” said Garcia, a junior transfer from East Mississippi Community College. “However, Dr. (Andrew) Luccasen did a great job at helping me prepare for the presentation. I also learned a great deal from the people at the TVA and the students from the other schools.” 

Garcia, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, joined The W’s Investment Club because the stock market always has intrigued her. She said being involved with the club has complemented everything she has learned about accounting. She hopes to put those lessons to use to help The W Investment Club continue to beat the S&P 500.

Richardson, who is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, is a junior general business administration major. She said she has gained valuable insight and experience being a member of The W Investment Club. Richardson said that knowledge will help her realize her ultimate goal, which is to learn how to build her own five-star resort.

Richardson“I want to stay in the hospitality industry and start a chain of hotel resorts and restaurants,” Richardson said. “Being in the club has provided insight about investing in businesses and helped me understand how finance plays a key role in making or breaking a business. I have seen that even the best businesses have rough periods and that experience in investing will help with the uncertainty of the world of finance.”

Luccasen, the faculty adviser for The W’s Investment Club, said The W has been a part of managing stock portfolios for the Tennessee Valley Authority as part of the TVA Investment Challenge since 1999. The W is one of 24 schools in the challenge, which is a partnership between TVA and universities in its service territory that provides a real-world learning experience in portfolio management.

“The Investment Challenge gives teams of students hands-on experience in managing stock portfolios on behalf of the TVA by making direct decisions of what stocks to invest in,” Luccasen said. “The current value of the MUW Investment Club investment portfolio is over $500,000.”

Luccasen said students actively manage TVA funds by designing long-term investment strategies, placing trades and providing performance reports to the TVA. Garcia and Richardson also fielded questions from their students at other schools and representatives from the TVA after their presentations.

The conference used a virtual platform last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A conference including all 24 schools is scheduled for March 24-25, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee. Luccasen said it likely will move to an online format.

Luccasen, Garcia and Richardson encourage any student at The W who is interested in learning about investing to join the club.

“The club has really helped me understand the stock market,” said Garcia, who plans to pursue a master’s degree in accounting at Mississippi State University. “You don’t need to be in finance to do what we do. It really is that simple.”

Said Richardson, “Being in the club helps tremendously and offers knowledge that most people have to pay to learn for free, so make the most out of this opportunity to join.”

Dec. 10, 2020
Contact: Adam Minichino
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