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Banking on Hands-On Learning

For those who hope to one day become money managers, securities analysts and investors, there is no more hands-on experience than making actual decisions that can cause a portfolio's value to increase or drop.

The research, scanning of stock data and market news, and development of fund analyses are preparation to buy, sell and trade – not in a simulation, but in the real world.

It's just such experiences that business students get as members of Cal State Fullerton's student investment teams in the Applied Security Analysis Program (ASAP), where they manage approximately $1.3 million in stocks and bonds.

ASAP participants are selected via a rigorous application process that includes the development and defense of a research report for a designated company.

"Once selected, students experience an enriched curriculum, including economic forecasting, security analysis, portfolio construction and performance attribution," explained Marcia Clark, who oversees the bond portion of the program. "At each step along the way, ASAP board members, drawn from the local investment community, provide support and assistance to help the students refine their investment decision-making process." "This program has leveled the playing field for our students," agreed fellow ASAP director Mike Milligan. "It's a great learning experience to work in that kind of atmosphere."

The program was made possible with an initial gift by Jeffrey Van Harte '80 (B.A. business administration-finance), chair and chief investment officer of Jackson Square Partners. In 2016 his continued support allowed the program to open the Titan Capital Management Center, a state-of-the art facility that mirrors the real world of an investment management operation.

"We have created a very high-impact, relevant program that is only going to get better in the years to come," said Van Harte. "Leaders in finance and investment management should be very excited about the quality of the students that are coming out of this program.

"I know, because I hired one of the students myself."

To contribute to the Applied Security Analysis Program, contact Enrique Gonzalez, senior director of development for Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, at 657-278-2857 or egonzalez-salgado@fullerton.edu.