A five-year retrospective on an undergraduate SMIF program

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© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: For undergraduate-only, AACSB-accredited business programs, establishing a student managed investment fund (SMIF) can be an enormous, but potentially worthwhile, undertaking. Resources are often very limited – especially for faculty where their time is already consumed by teaching, administrative and publishing requirements. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the five-year experience at Stonehill College and suggest considerations for undergraduate institutions seeking to establish such programs. Design/methodology/approach: This is a retrospective on the experience of designing and implementing a SMIF-based academic program. Student education and professional skill development should be the primary outcomes evaluated with such programs. Included are brief perspectives on the program from its alumni with commentary on perceived value in one to four years following graduation. Findings: The experience to date suggests that establishing a SMIF at a smaller, undergraduate-only institution is challenging. For a SMIF to generate educational returns commensurate with its cost, it needs to be part of a comprehensive, academic-driven program that garners broad support by the business faculty and administration of the college. Personal reflections by its program alumni suggest that it can be a very meaningful academic and experiential learning opportunity. Research limitations/implications: This paper is focused largely on the experience of one institution. Further insights may be attained by a broader, unbiased analysis of institutions where SMIF programs have succeeded or failed to meet similar objectives. Practical implications: The authors suggests that the creation of a SMIF program at smaller, undergraduate-only institutions faces unique challenges relative to larger, more well-endowed universities. These challenges can be overcome but not without a broad internal commitment. These programs, if done in a comprehensive way, can significantly impact student outcomes. Originality/value: The retrospective offers up-to-date insights on the value and challenges of starting a SMIF program at smaller-sized, undergraduate-only academic institutions.

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