The NIU Investment Association was founded in January, 2009 by three enterprising finance majors who wanted to create a discussion-based forum in which they could share ideas and gain hands-on experience with investing strategies.
The club meets on Tuesday evenings throughout each semester. A typical one-hour meeting begins with an overview of current events and an update on the simulated portfolio competition. Various platforms for this competition have been used, with our current selection being Wall Street Survivor. After the winners (and losers!) are reviewed, we move on to the topic of the week. Popular past topics include options, technical analysis, gold investing, political implications, oil companies, taxation, retirement investing, etc. We then move on to the stock of the week and/or a student presentation. Student presentation topics are generally narrower than discussion topics (e.g., differences between a Roth vs. a Traditional IRA, WAG vs. CVS, call vs. put options, etc.). The meeting concludes with voting for the next week's topic and stock/presentation.
"When interviewing for my current opportunity (JPMorgan Asset Management) or past employers (Merrill Lynch and Scottrade), what always sets me apart is my "real-world" investment experience. The investment club is not only a great résumé builder, but it offers a forum to test investment ideas and talk about the overall state of the markets. I recommend the club highly to anyone who desires to be successful in their financial or career goals." - James Jacobson, 2011, Internal Client Advisor at Merrill Lynch
"From my perspective, joining/co-founding the Investment Club was a way for me to get a better perspective of the investment industry outside of the typical classroom setting. The motivation came from having an alternative to the FMA where the majority of the meetings consisted of guest speakers and it was much more impersonal. I wanted to be part of an organization that was able to have group discussions on what was going on in the industry and be able to have educational sessions on different topics within the industry such as trading techniques, alternative investment strategies, etc, that was not taught in the classroom.
One of the first benefits I gained from being a member/co-founder of the Investment Club came right away during my interview process. As a college student you are limited in your experiences to previous internships and activities you participated in, so when I started talking about the Investment Club and everything we did on a weekly basis, the company was extremely impressed.
From a real world perspective, the Investment Club was extremely relative When I started my first job in the investment industry at Marquette Associates, an Investment Consulting firm for institutional investors (my three year anniversary is this month), I participated in investment committee meetings where the first topic of discussion was an update on the market/current news, something in which we did every meeting at the Investment Club." - Jeremy Zirin, 2010, Research Data Analyst, Alternative Investments at Marquette Associates
"My membership in student organizations, and particularly my involvement with FMA and the Investment Association were some of the best parts of my college career. Through my leadership roles, I learned time management skills, how to run a meeting, how to delegate tasks, and how to take criticism in a productive and constructive manner. I also met several of my best friends through these organizations, and because of this I have friends and acquaintances in virtually every industry and across the country." - Kip Hardy, 2011, Senior Consultant at Northern Trust
"Few experiences at NIU were as formative or as beneficial to me as having been a part of the NIU Investment Association. Throughout my albeit limited experience in the financial sector over the past two years, first in equity research, then in treasury at a large company I find myself encountering concepts and dealing with issues that I remember researching and discussing on Tuesday nights in Barsema. In addition to these concepts I first learned at Investment Association I also made numerous connections with other equally financially interested students who I still communicate with regularly to this day. Overall, if I was to name any class or activity I’m glad I was a participant in during my time at NIU, it would be the NIU Investment Association." -Jordan Lubbers, 2011 – Economics, Treasury Analyst at Discover Financial Services