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From Textbook to Ticker–Alumni Endowment Gives Students Authentic Investment Experience

by Paige Hawk Aug 9, 2022
Bloesch Family Student Investment Fund

Rising costs. War. Supply chain issues. These topics, and more, have been capturing media attention—but what impact do they have on the stock exchange, and how does one learn to make smart investments in such a seemingly unpredictable environment?

Enter the Bloesch Family Student Investment Fund, an endowment that allows students to gain practical experience in investing using real funds under the careful guidance of Bradley Barnhorst, CFA, associate professor and chair of the finance major, and Michael Sweetana, director of finance and treasurer.

Barnhorst teaches the Investment Practicum course, a series of seminar-style meetings in The Fainor Center for Financial Services, where students discuss company valuation and performance metrics and pitch investment ideas.

“Any time we can do a hands-on application, students get a lot more from it because they can see the direct impacts. You read about the stock market in the textbook, but to actually use valuation techniques to make decisions and then seeing those investments pan out is invaluable.”

 Bradley Barnhorst, CFA, associate professor and chair of the finance major

Nolan Beck ’22 was one of many students who has benefitted from the investment experience. An accounting graduate in the data analytics track, the Bloesch Family Student Investment Fund gave Beck the unique opportunity to sharpen his investment skills and have advantageous conversations about how recent headlines may impact the stability of certain industries.

“Being able to value a stock is a skill which will undoubtedly serve me well in the financial industry,” says Beck. “Since we know that the valuation methodology is sound, we have some degree of confidence that we will identify stocks accurately. This makes me feel as though I will be more qualified to comment on such things in a business setting.”

The fund, which has been actively trading for two years now, was made possible by DSU business grads and brothers Keith Bloesch ’97 and Eric Bloesch ’94. When the fund grows, a portion of the gains will be used to provide scholarships to future DeSales students from Archbishop Ryan High School, where the Bloesch brothers attended.

“We recognize the financial challenges students face in attending college and see the value in real-world educational experiences,” say the Bloesches. “That’s what helped inspire us to support the Bloesch Student Investment Fund. We are thankful we can give back as individuals and as brothers with a shared vision in supporting DeSales and giving back the gifts we received during our education and professional journeys.”

Students who engage with the fund note that the experience is as fun as it is helpful, and they are grateful for the opportunity it provides.

“The only thing that I can really say to the Bloesch family is thank you,” says Beck. “I’m very grateful for their generosity.”