CSUF SMIF students and faculty pose at the SGMH terrace
CSUF investment students and mentoring faculty pose at the College of Business and Economics terrace following the Nov. 19 CFAOC competition held at the college. “I saw a leadership moment in practice before the event that exemplifies the culture and truly impressive students we are so fortunate to mentor and coach,” says Kelly Ko (lower right), finance/equity director of Titan Capital Management and a finance lecturer at Cal State Fullerton. Photo by Kelly Ko.

For the fourth consecutive year, students participating in the Cal State Fullerton Student Management Investment Fund (SMIF) were top finishers in the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of Orange County (CFAOC) competition. The Nov. 19 event featured student teams from local universities competing for the opportunity to manage about $100,000 of the CFAOC’s real-world financial portfolio.

Students from the CSUF College of Business and Economics took second place at the event, enabling the investment-focused students to manage the assets for the CFAOC for another year. The Cal State Long Beach team took top honors, while Cal Poly Pomona students came in third. Other competing groups were from Chapman University and UC Riverside and featured top-tier collegiate investment students in Southern California from both public and private universities.

The competition was held in-person at CSUF’s state-of-the-art Titan Capital Management headquarters, with faculty and staff from the College of Business and Economics hosting students and instructors from across Southern California. As sponsor, CFAOC annually provides the opportunity for schools to manage assets to fund scholarships for chartered financial analyst candidates.

“The Titan Capital Management directors are thrilled with the success of the SMIF team this year. It is disappointing not to earn first place, but we will accept second against a strong team like Cal State Long Beach. Next year, we’re going for number one!” says Marcia Lucas, finance lecturer and managing director of Titan Capital Management. “SMIF is successful year after year because of the student leaders who spend countless hours each week coaching and mentoring younger and less experienced students. This type of giving back builds maturity, commitment, and long-term thinking in SMIF graduates, making them highly desired employees for local businesses.”

A Culture of Leadership and Excellence at SMIF

A student and departmental culture of mentoring and commitment to quality powered the Cal State Fullerton team’s performance.

“I saw a leadership moment in practice before the event that exemplifies the culture and the truly impressive students we are so fortunate to mentor and coach,” says Kelly Ko, finance/equity director of Titan Capital Management and a finance lecturer at Cal State Fullerton.

“Many of the less-experienced students were freezing in practice and reaching the point of not being able to present effectively. They could have cost the team the competition. It is a 15-minute timed event, so if one presenter takes too long, others might not get to their important parts. The leadership team could have taken those students’ parts and may have even done them more effectively.”

But they chose not to and instead continued to work with the less experienced students up to presentation time. “In the end, the presentation and Q&A were well done,” he adds.

The 2021 CSUF team was led by SMIF President Jericho Cezar ’23 and Nicholas Laica ’22, the fund’s vice president.

Other presenters included SMIF leaders Kenneth Sherb ’23 (who won the research report competition at the TCM Student Investment Conference in early November), Michael Huizar ’23, Shannon Tran ’22, Jehu Jogwe ’21, Johnny Ho and Tyler Peyatt ’23.

“These students have been working for months writing the request for proposal and preparing for the presentation. They should be congratulated for their fine accomplishment in representing the university, SMIF and Titan Capital Management programs,” says Ko.

For More on Student Investment Programs

Cal State Fullerton’s SMIF and Titan Capital Management programs task finance students and other Titans interested in stock market careers with managing actual investment portfolios in consultation with the CFAOC.

From researching investments during the ups and downs of equity markets to presenting results at competitions, conferences and events, CSUF investment students gain valuable experience as portfolio managers, financial analysts, brokers and traders.

Through a one-unit hybrid lab course of in-class workshops and peer coaching outside of class, students from sophomores to seniors receive a wide variety of experience with financial markets. The course can be repeated up to three times, enabling students to choose to earn their course grade from a selection of assignments ranging from fundamental to advanced.

For more on SMIF or the parent Titan Capital Management program, please reach out to TCM@fullerton.edu or call 657-278-8179.