Written by The Business Journal Staff
As Fresno State students were cramming for finals this week, hoping for the highest grades, some students at the Craig School of Business were hoping for the greatest yields on their investments.
Fresno State’s biz school preps students with real-life experiences.
And as of last month, they had a dedicated place to do it, thanks to a $45,000 grant from Wells Fargo.
The Craig School created a real-time stock training lab — one of only four of its kind in California. It’s all part of a bigger, multi-million-dollar plan by the top-rated business school to give its students an edge in the marketplace once they graduate.
Future plans call for a new executive classroom and training center that will not only provide learning opportunities for students, but also benefit the business community as a whole.
“To meet the needs of our exceptional faculty and student body, we must continue to keep pace with current and future business climates,” said Dr. Robert Harper, dean of the Craig School. “The Executive Classroom and Training Center project will transform and expand an outdated space into a modern, state-of-the-art classroom and training facility to better prepare our students for success in the business world.”
The new stock trading room features trading terminals, large televisions and a live stock ticker. And the equipment is used for real-world transactions, as business students manage a $2.8 million portfolio as part of the Student Managed Investment Fund.
That portfolio from the Fresno State Foundation actually started out as $2 million with the students managing to grow it 40 percent. The students also manage a $45,000 and $140,000 fund.
“We are very proud of the stock trading room and the real-time experience it provides our students,” Harper said. “Wells Fargo has been instrumental in helping to transform students’ lives through its generous gift to develop the lab and help make this dream become a reality.”
Spearheading the project was Dr. K.C. Chen, chair of the Finance and Business Law Department and the program’s advisor.
Renan de Lima, a senior finance student in the program, recently told Fresno State Magazine that actually stepping into the role of an asset manager was a challenge, but led her to understand the responsibility involved.
“We have a fiduciary duty to act solely in the school’s best interest,” de Lima says. “But we are very fortunate to be led by Dr. K.C. Chen, who has a lot of knowledge and experience about the relationship between risk and return and how to apply different valuation models and techniques in the decision-making process.”
Craig School officials also recently unveiled plans for the executive classroom and training center, which will double as one of the few executive training facilities in Fresno.
The project will include a new building as well as the renovation of a currently unused space, adding more than 3,700 square feet of classroom and training facilities with an additional 2,000 square feet of outdoor space for events.
The cost for the project is about $2 million. The Craig School dedicated $500,000 to kick-start the project, and will need to raise another $1.5 million to break ground next summer.
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