Student-Managed Investment Fund

WMU students manage portfolio of real money

Beginning in 2009, the Western Michigan University Foundation selected the class as a large cap manager of $500,000 of WMU Foundation Funds. With hands-on training, initial project has evolved into a great opportunity for students to gain real-world experience.

To participate students must submit an application for this class. All applications are reviewed by a committee for consideration. 

Apply to the Student Management Investment Fund course


  • Manage a portfolio of approximately $1 million of WMU Foundation money.
  • Get hands-on experience in fundamental research and money management.
  • Past participants are enthusiastic about their experience and employers are impressed.

Class information

  • Available to undergraduate and graduate students for credit (three credit hours).
  • Prerequisites:
    • Undergrad prerequisite is FIN 3510. Students are encouraged to take FIN 4530.
    • Graduate student prerequisite is FIN 6120 along with a finance concentration.
  • Enrollment limited to 10 to 15 students.
  • Students encouraged to take class for two or more semesters.

Class registration

  • Admission to the course is by application only.
  • Performance in previous coursework and statement of professional goals are considered for admission.


  • Chris Burns
    Chartered Financial Analyst, Certified Public Accountant, Fixed Income Analyst
    Greenleaf Trust
  • Focuses on developing and implementing fixed income portfolio strategies.
  • Responsible for establishing and implementing fixed income strategy for client portfolios.
  • Generate economic and capital markets research.
  • Trade investment grade fixed income securities including taxable and tax-exempt instruments utilizing Bloomberg, ECNs, and negotiated trading.

Investment approach

  • Students conduct fundamental analysis and write research reports on various investments, making recommendations to buy, sell or hold.
  • Students present their research to their classmates and their instructor.
  • Decisions to buy, sell or hold are made by a vote of the students.
  • Students report investment results to the WMU Foundation Investment Committee.