College of Business students achieve top results in TVA Investment Challenge – Western Carolina University News

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College of Business students achieve top results in TVA Investment Challenge – Western Carolina University News

 WCU Stories      April 15, 2021

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 WCU Stories   
 
April 15, 2021

By Geoff Cantrelltva challenge

The WCU team, from left to right, Earl Styne, Cameron Forbis, Grant Schaffner, Sydny Young, assistant professor Leobardo
Diosdado, Lindsey Elias, Dalton Marler and Alison Carballo.

A Western Carolina University team of College of Business students proved their financial
moxie with real money in an investment competition sponsored by the Tennessee Valley
Authority.

The team was awarded some $12,000 for their efforts in 2020, outpacing the S&P 500 Total Return Index for the calendar year, despite tremendous
market volatility brought on by COVID-19.  

The TVA Investment Challenge provides hands-on experience in financial asset management,
with student teams actively managing stock portfolios for the federal corporate agency,
designing long-term investment strategies and selecting investments under the guidance
of faculty members and within established guidelines.

“The year 2020 was difficult and to see the Investment Challenge teams overcome adversity
to outperform trained market professionals is exceptional,” said Tammy Wilson, TVA
vice president, treasurer and chief risk officer. At the end of the year, assets managed
in the Investment Challenge had grown to $14 million primarily through positive investment
returns. Investment Challenge teams have earned $1.3 million in performance awards
for their schools over the life of the program.

With 24 universities from seven states participating, the Investment Challenge exemplifies
TVA’s legacy of service, said Wilson. “And it’s an excellent program for students
to interact with working professionals and gain practical experience by managing real
portfolios with faculty oversight and appropriate guardrails,” she said.

The WCU team was Earl Styne, Grant Schaffner, Sydny Young, Dalton Marler, Alison Carballo,
Lindsey Elias and Nicholas Forbis. Team adviser was Leobardo Diosdado, assistant professor
of finance.
 

WCU has participated in the Investment Challenge since the program was originated
by TVA in 1998, guided by College of Business professor Grace Allen, who passed away
Aug. 19 after a brief battle with cancer. In her memory, TVA announced this week a
donation has been made in her memory to the
Grace Allen Scholarship Fund at WCU.

“For those of us who knew Grace, she was a joy to be around, with a very kind and
encouraging demeanor, and she was such a great ambassador for this program,” said
Ben Duby, TVA’s senior program manager of corporate investments. “I can speak directly
to her passion in working with students as she would take a group to NYC annually
to visit the New York Stock Exchange. During those trips, I would assist her by leveraging
different investment manager relationships that they could spend time visiting while
in the area. I knew that request was coming each year and would be thinking who I
could send her to next. I know Grace placed an enormous value on this relationship
and the opportunities it could provide her students…  She will greatly be missed.”

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