Visitors to the Madden School of Business invariably find their eyes falling on a large Stock Market ticker in the School’s lobby, its gleaming green and red digits signaling in real time whether a stock’s value is rising or falling. As they look around, these guests might also notice small groups of serious-looking people huddled together, energetically debating the merits of buying or selling a particular company’s stock and asking: What does this business do? How has it performed in the past? What is its price-to-earnings ratio? The young men and women engaged in these conversations are not stockbrokers or hedge-fund managers, but Le Moyne College students working for the Dolphin Green and Gold Fund.
Independently owned and valued at approximately $1.2 million, the Green and Gold Fund is the 46th largest student-managed fund in the United States. It helped propel Le Moyne's finance program to number 42 in the nation. Its aim is to be profitable, but also educational, “preparing students to make sound, ethical decisions as they grow in knowledge and experience,” explained John Hunter, director of the Fund and a professor of practice in the Madden School of Business. The Fund’s staff members are divided into teams and assigned roles based on their level of experience – rising from analyst to senior analyst to team leader to senior adviser. They research companies, assessing their profitability and potential, and whether their values align with Le Moyne’s. Then the students make investment recommendations to a seven-member Board of Managers, which bears fiduciary responsibility for their work.
The Fund, which was established in 2019, has included two all-women’s teams. The current team includes includes:Lazara Morales Cespedes ’23 (team leader); Madeleine Kennedy ’23 and Jessica Procopio ’22 (senior analysts); Sarah Cone ’24, Aliah Mahshie ’23 and Natalya Tedesco ’22 (analysts); and Adrianna Nojaim ’22 and Miranda Myhill-LaForce ’21 (senior advisers). At a time when there are still more men in the financial services industry than women, the group in particular has distinguished itself. It recently won an intra-Fund competition to see which team could develop the highest-performing mock portfolio. It took the lead in crafting a document outlining a set of ESG goals for the Fund, essentially a code of ethics the students have agreed to follow in making investment recommendations. And overall, the team has earned accolades for its thoughtful, data-driven presentations to the Board of Managers.
Members of the women’s group say they were drawn to the Fund for a variety of reasons. Some had acquired savings after working at summer jobs and wanted to learn how to manage their money wisely. Others envision careers in the financial services field themselves and wanted practice in using the tools of the trade, such as the Bloomberg terminals that line the walls of the Madden School’s Errico Family Trading Center. Still others wanted to have the experience of being part of a team working toward a common goal. Whatever brought them to the Fund, they all said the opportunity to “learn by doing” has been an invaluable and extraordinary lesson. They have grown together – and they hope that the Fund will too.
“As we were reminded recently, this is not Monopoly money,” Myhill-LaForce said.