by John Michael O'Leary
“One dollar invested in a diversified basket of large cap stocks in 1926 would have grown to $7,000 in value by 2017,” says Dr. Manfen Chen, associate professor of finance. “If that initial investment had been $1,000 it would be worth $7 million.”
Chen and a team of volunteers from USI used a graph of that example to get students’ attention at JA JobSpark.
JA JobSpark, presented by Junior Achievement of Southwest Indiana and the Public Education Foundation of Evansville, gives students in grades 8 to 12 a chance to learn about different careers from professionals with local firms. The event took place October 1 and 2 in Evansville at Old National Events Plaza.
“I want students to understand if they start investing earlier, they can retire with a good fortune,” says Chen. “I encourage students to buy big-name companies and keep them for the longer term. Once I explain the concept of investment, we play the stock market game.”
In the game, players choose a mix of shares from energy, agriculture and large recognizable brands. When the bell rings, trading starts. News about events (an explosion in an oil field, for example, or a factory fire) affects share prices. As the game unfolds, Chen explains what causes prices to fluctuate and how investors can benefit from diversification.
“We had a lot of interest in our booth,” says Manfen. “Feedback was very positive from both teachers and students.”
“JA JobSpark provided so many hands-on career exploration activities for more than 6,000 students from 11 surrounding counties,” says Marcia Forston, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana. “We are so thrilled that the Romain College of Business was represented at JA JobSpark, and provided such a meaningful experience for our students. Every time I walked by this activity there was always a crowd of engaged students and enthusiastic volunteers.”
The Romain College investment game was one of the more popular exhibits at JA JobSpark. It familiarized about 400 students in grades 8 to 12 with fundamental concepts of investing in stocks.