The 10 Wittenberg students involved in the Investment Club designed a portfolio of 10 stock issues - a combination of traditional industrial stocks and more aggressive technology stocks - that broke even by the end of 2000. In a year of ugly losses throughout the market, Wittenberg's club was one of only three to finish the year even or better in a 16-club national student competition sponsored by the Akron-based private investment advisory firm Oak Associates Ltd. The strong finish earned a $15,000 cash prize, which will be used to add investments to the current portfolio.
Wittenberg's Oak Associates Investment Club was founded in January 2000 after WMA received a $50,000 grant from the Jim and Vanita Oelschlager Foundation. Jim Oelschlager, who owns Oak Associates, began giving such grants to colleges and universities in 1996. Schools receiving grants enter an annual investing competition with one another. Portfolio performances are evaluated at the end of each year with winners announced at a dinner in February, and the top five finishers awarded cash prizes.
Clubs are not allowed to hold mutual funds, and faculty members may not participate in the selection of stocks. Those guidelines, set by Oak Associates, allow students to make all investment decisions and professors to teach valuable investing lessons. In addition, 5 percent of the original fund, about $2,500, will be used by Wittenberg to promote investment education, according to Professor of Management Lowell Stockstill, one of the club's advisers.
Members of Wittenberg's Oak Associates Investment Club team included seniors Sally Burkholder of Meadville, Pa.; Tony Agin of Mason, Ohio; Marilyn Moreaux of Accra, Ghana; Maanavi Chendanda of Karnataka, India; Sajjad Mamdani of Springfield, Ohio; and Nate Walsh of Lima, Ohio; and juniors Mike Pickarski of Springfield, Ohio; Dave Kim of Skokie, Ill.; Phil Lovegrove of Columbus, Ohio and Kelly Clutter of Delaware, Ohio.