Business Students Manage Sustainable Portfolios

Portfolio management class.

Students in Finance 437 (Advanced Topics in Finance), had the opportunity to invest $1-2 million in real money during the fall 2016 semester. Their portfolios, funded by the CSUN Foundation and the University Corporation, gave students real-world experience as money managers and financial analysts.

The opportunity began in November 2015, at the request of President Harrison, when class members allotted $250,000 in funds provided to develop a sustainable portfolio that emphasizes financial sustainability, socially responsible investing, and environmental, social, and governance investments.

Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s rankings of  “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens,” together with other sustainability rankings lists, were used to determine the students’ investment strategies. Each semester the class uses a different strategy to determine current best practices for sustainable investments.

The course is taught by Dr. Mike Phillips, whose leadership experience in sustainable investing includes serving as the CSU representative for the Intentional Endowments Network and speaking at conferences on the topic of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment criteria. During the Spring 2017 semester, Dr. Phillips will be on sabbatical, researching and developing an open-source sustainability ranking system that is expected to improve the work done in sustainable investing initiatives. He believes the sustainable portfolio is a great asset to finance students, and that there is a growing demand for investment analysts, money managers, and financial planners who have a grasp on sustainable investment principles.

To learn more about finance course offerings visit the CSUN Finance website.

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