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SMEF-20_640Participants and managers of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Student-Managed Endowment Fund (SMEF) convened in Sage Hall April 25 to present how their class has helped nurture the fund to more than $500,000 — money sustaining student scholarships and UW Oshkosh Foundation growth.

The SMEF is maintained through a College of Business course, open only to accepted applicants. Since 2000, the course has provided UW Oshkosh students the opportunity to handle real money and make their own investment decisions, guided by, but requiring approval of, a faculty adviser.

Their decisions proved successful when, in early April, the fund eclipsed the $500,000 mark. This total is one of the largest amounts managed by undergraduate students in Wisconsin.

Students managed the funds from within the College of Business trading room in Sage Hall, a learning laboratory and work area with state-of-the-art computers, a stock ticker and clocks set to global market times in New York, London and Tokyo.

The April 25 presentation opened with a statement from College of Business Dean William Tallon, and followed with presentations from students and a question and answer session. One of Thursday’s presenters, Marian Rothkegel, said the SMEF lab and corresponding classes provide UW Oshkosh students with a unique opportunity.

“I really think that this is hands-on experience that I will be able to apply to my job,” he said.

Rothkegel, a supply chain and operations management major, has already found himself a position as a global supply chain analyst at Brunswick Corporation.

During his presentation, Rothkegel said SMEF’s performance is evaluated using current economic conditions as a factor.

Francisco Aguilar, one of two student managers for the spring 2013 semester, said the group keeps a watch list to keep track of investments and their performance.

After all, the students at SMEF aren’t managing and investing half a million dollars for no reason. The SMEF program has provided more than $41,000 in scholarships and more than $34,000 in fees to the UW Oshkosh Foundation.

But the real benefit for SMEF participants is the experience of handling real money and making real decisions about what to do with that money. Aguilar said it is a representation of how real business works.

“It’s a hands-on experience. It’s unlike any other class,” he said.

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