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TTU News


thumb TVAInvestmentComp_20MAR1400005It will be Deryl Martin’s last time to ring Tennessee Tech University’s closing bell on the year-long Tennessee Valley Authority’s investment challenge, but at least he’s going out on top.

For the fifth, and Martin’s final, time, his investment class has won the TVA’s annual investment challenge and outperformed Wall Street with its stock purchases. Twenty-five colleges and universities participate in the competition, which began 16 years ago.

“I’m tickled for Tennessee Tech and I’m tickled for the students,” said Martin, TTU finance professor, who will retire this year. “Someone would be a fool if they said they weren’t proud of going out on top.”

By investing in Tesla, biotechnology and industrials, the class of fewer than 10 students earned a 47.6 percent return. By contrast, Standard & Poor’s 500 index earned a 32.4 percent return.

In the classroom, undergraduates and graduate students come together to give pitches of what investments should be made and each one monitors an industry for trends and news that may affect the market’s performance.

Students must be accepted into the class, and can take it up to four times – twice as an undergraduate and twice as an MBA student.

“You really start learning once you make the decisions,” said TJ Whitfield, a senior finance major from New Johnsonville, Tenn. “It’s kind of good to be in the class with graduate students because they ease us in. I’ve learned a ton.”

Several TTU alumni who have taken the class have gone on to work for TVA, according to Martin. MBA student Joshua Aikens, of Franklin, said he has not had a single job interview where the course has not come up in conversation. Additionally, though he does not plan to become a broker, he has begun investing his own money using the knowledge gained in the course.

“This class gives me the confidence to say, somewhat, that I know what I’m doing,” Aikens said. “I think it’s more powerful than anything to say, I can do this and I know what I’m doing and I don’t need to pay anyone to manage my money.”