• Students learn about long term stock investments through UPenn's Global Investment Competition

    global invest Students in Ryan Myers “Become a Millionaire” class at Bellefonte Area High School have been working on a project through the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania that, according to the business school’s website, allows high school students the chance to implement investment strategies for mock clients. It also allows teachers facilitating the project the opportunity to help teach students a realistic approach to long-term investment.

    “It is really good because it really looks at stocks holistically,” Myers said. “There are a million stock market competitions out there that just give students a pile of fake money, have them invest in stocks and see who has the most money at the end of the competition. This one is different, because you are working for a fictitious client and are tasked with helping him meet his long-term investment goals rather than just rely on short-term strategies that are frankly dangerous for the average investor.”

    Through the project, Myers said he aims to teach the students about long-term wealth accumulation by setting a personal investment strategy and mapping out a sustainable plan.

    global invest 2 Students meet during first and fourth periods – learning about communication, company analysis, diversification, industry analysis, investing, risk taking and teamwork. Leading up to the competition, Myers said students have been preparing by learning about stock markets, stock indexes, how to buy and sell stocks using a variety of buying and selling strategies, and how to assess whether or not to buy a stock based on qualitative and quantitative information. 

    In his fourth period class, there are four groups of students working together – about five who are learning remotely and seven students who attend school in person. With masks on, appropriately distanced and Chromebooks out, the students work together to come up with an investment plan for a faux client they were paired with.

    Teams must study the client profile and then work to meet the client’s short- and long-term goals. They use a simulator provided by the Wharton School to buy and sell stocks during a 10-week period, and further solidify investment strategies for the client in an effort to gain his business.

    global invest 3 “We’re going about it by helping him in different ways – we’re not working with the other groups than our own,” student Michael Henry said. “We have different strategies and are assigned different sectors to meet his investment needs like finding (companies) that are globally diverse and socially responsible.”

    The students also have a $100,000 limit and must use $10,000 in stocks considered “safe,” Henry added, so the money can be used for short-term use where there isn't time to recover from a loss as easily.

    The students’ final strategy is due Dec. 11, which is then sent to the Wharton School where a team of judges will examine students’ work and select what they consider are the top teams. Regional finalists will be announced Jan. 18.

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD