Local Students Get Chance to Invest in Virtual Stock Market

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Masters Investments Learning Center

The Masters Investment Learning Center in the Haslam Business Building.

Could there be a future Warren Buffett attending school in East Tennessee? Young financial wizards will have the chance to kick off their money-making careers by participating in the 2010-11 UT Masters Investment Learning Center Stock Market Game.

The University of Tennessee Masters Investment Learning Center has partnered with the Knoxville News Sentinel’s Newspapers in Education program to offer East Tennessee students the opportunity to learn money-management and investments skills.

“We are proud to take the lead on the UT Masters Investment Learning Center Stock Market Game for East Tennessee students,” said James Wansley, head of the Department of Finance at UT Knoxville and Clayton Homes Chair of Excellence in Finance. “The Masters Investment Learning Center is dedicated to promoting interactive education and forging partnerships that enhance financial literacy among the university, the business college, our students and the business community.”

The UT Tennessee Masters Investment Learning Center Stock Market Game introduces students to the American economic and business system. Participating high school and middle school classes are placed in the senior and junior level divisions, respectively, and form teams of students who learn about making investments by buying and selling stocks as part of a mock exercise.

“This year’s program offers two new enhancements,” Wansley said. “Before the competition begins, the Masters Investment Learning Center will host one-day educational teach-in sessions for both teachers and students to help them better understand how the stock market works, how to select a stock, manage a portfolio, etc. Plus, to enhance the realism of the game, the students will have an actual client – me. Each team will have $100,000 of ‘virtual’ money to invest based on my risk tolerance level and financial goals.”

The two student teach-in sessions will take place on Sept. 11 at the Knoxville News Sentinel. The session for high school teams will be in the morning. The session for middle school teams will be in the afternoon.

“This new opportunity will offer students additional instruction and insight about stock analysis and investments theory,” said Project Director Brandon Belcher. “Furthermore, teams may schedule additional meetings with me to discuss these topics further and gain access to university research resources as they make trades throughout the semester.”

Having virtual money to invest on behalf of a client adds a level of complexity and realism to the competition that it’s never had before.

“The program will enable students to understand financial planning not only for their personal knowledge and use, but also as a foundation to possibly pursue a higher education degree or career in finance. Our goal isn’t just to teach about buying and selling stocks; it’s for them to understand wealth creation,” Belcher said.

The UT Tennessee Masters Investment Learning Center Stock Market Game fall semester program runs Sept. 13-Dec. 3, 2010. The team with the most total equity at the conclusion of the 12-week program will win. Each semester, in each division, the first-place team will receive $300; the second-place team will receive $200; and the third-place team will receive $100. Registration begins Sept. 4.

The UT Tennessee Masters Investment Learning Center promotes and facilitates business education and research through experiential learning and provides educational opportunities and enrichment activities for students, faculty and the professional community. The center is a state-of-the-art facility with cutting-edge technology that enables faculty to teach investments and portfolio-management skills to students throughout the UT Knoxville campus.

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