The essence of investing: experiential education with a student-run portfolio

Elizabeth Tashjian (Department of Finance, David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

Managerial Finance

ISSN: 0307-4358

Publication date: 7 March 2019



Many undergraduates major in business in hopes of being well-prepared for a career. However, Arum and Roksa (2010) find business students perform poorly relative to peers on measures of academic gains and employers report that few college graduates are well-prepared for business careers (Lumina Foundation, 2013). Experiential courses have the potential to engage students deeply and encourage critical thinking while developing important business skills. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


This paper proposes several attributes of successful experiential courses and uses a student-managed portfolio as an example of a successful model.


Student-managed portfolios can improve educational and career outcomes for students.

Practical implications

Student-managed investment funds can provide a vehicle for teaching students research, critical thinking and writing skills while encouraging them to integrate knowledge from a broad range of business disciplines to understand a firm’s business model.


While experiential programs are touted as addressing these shortcomings, many academics remain skeptical of experiential programs which too often focus on showy trips, passively listening to important people or performing shallow analyses at the expense of developing a deep understanding of how to identify and solve complex problems. This paper offers some insight into important features of a successful experiential program.



Tashjian, E. (2019), "The essence of investing: experiential education with a student-run portfolio", Managerial Finance, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

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