UW College of Business Students Find Real

April 22, 2008

Being part of the NASDAQ closing bell ceremony was one of the highlights for two University of Wyoming College of Business students at a recent national conference.

Jacob Doss, Lexington, Ky., and Dan Jones, Longmont, Colo., were among a group of selected college students who stood on the podium when the button was pushed to signal the end of the day's trading. The special remote closing bell ceremony was held at the University of Dayton Arena.

Ten members of UW Professor Walt Werner's advanced investment class attended the NASDAQ closing bell ceremony during the eighth annual RISE (Redefining Investment Strategy Education) VIII Global Student Investment Forum in Dayton, Ohio.

This is the fifth year that Werner, Roy Chamberlain Distinguished Visiting Professor of Free Enterprise in the UW Department of Economics and Finance, has taken UW business students to the forum.

Also attending the RISE forum were UW business students Alicia Beadle, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Owen Brasington, Rock Springs; Blaine Christenson, Thermopolis; Sian Ciara, Pompei Point, Mont.: Ron Fogel, Haifa, Israel; Ashley Jones, Gillette; Elizabeth Perry, Casper; and Nick Phillip, Green River.

Since RISE began seven years ago, it has become the world's largest student investment forum. Modeled after the World Economic Forum held annually in Switzerland, it gives students an opportunity to ask questions of some of the world's top professionals.

Werner says that "it was a big deal" for the UW students to witness the NASDAQ remote closing bell ceremony, especially for Doss and Jones, who were selected to be on the podium when Christopher Gardner pushed the button. Gardner, owner and CEO of Christopher Gardner International Holdings, was the inspiration behind the Academy Award-nominated film "The Pursuit of Happyness," starring Will Smith.

NASDAQ opening and closing bell ceremonies occur daily from the stock market's studio in New York City's Times Square, but can be conducted remotely, symbolizing NASDAQ'S electronic market.

The UW contingent was among 2,400 participants representing 257 colleges, including 69 countries. The UW College of Business and Foundation along with private gifts funded the students' participation, Werner says.

The conference featured discussions on the economy; markets; the Federal Reserve perspective; corporate governance and responsibility; political, regulatory and legislative issues; and the leadership perspective.

The students attended specialized breakout sessions, workshops, networking receptions, a career strategies forum and an optional portfolio competition. During the three-day event, more than 125 professionals from 85 organizations participated as keynote speakers, judges, moderators and panelists.

Before the conference, the UW students visited a major distillery and a large horse racing operation in Lexington, Ky.

During the quarter that just ended, another advanced investment class turned a $63,000 profit for the UW Foundation. It marks the third year that Werner's students have been successful investing money for the UW Foundation.

This year the students have invested in exchange-traded funds and also heavily in oil/gas stocks and fertilizer stocks, which has been profitable, Werner says.

"The UW students have done very well for themselves," Werner says.

Some of the students in the group that attended the RISE conference are also in Werner's second investment class. They are Owen Brasington, Rock Springs; Peter Campbell, Parker Lahti, Todd Lewis and Jennifer Peterson, all of Cheyenne; Ron Fogel, Haifa, Israel; Barbara Hobart, Casper; Ashley Jones, Gillette; Katrina Krutkramele, Latvia; John Murdock, Laramie; and Nick Phillip, Green River.

Phillip, a finance senior with a minor in accounting, placed second in a first-ever online student investment competition. UpDown's investment competition, started by Harvard business students, attracted 1,600 students representing 389 colleges.

Competing in the individual portfolio competition, Phillip focused on high volatility stocks and invested in solar industry alternative energy and mortgage related stocks as well.

By placing second in the three-month competition last semester, Phillip received $1,000. He has been in Werner's advanced investment class two semesters.

"Taking Professor Werner's class definitely helped me learn about investing," Phillip says.

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