Raven Fund Gives Students Real-World Experience


The Anderson University Falls School of Business (FSB) is committed to preparing students for their post-graduate careers, and the Raven Investment Fund has proven to be the perfect avenue to do just that.

The FSB houses the STAR Trading Room — its own financial stock trading room sponsored by STAR Financial Bank — that serves as a real-time, high-tech laboratory classroom simulating a Wall Street environment. This technology is especially exciting for students managing a real endowment account for Anderson University. The Raven Fund is valued at around $2.4 million and consistently outperforms the market in return and risk.

Lonnie Leeper, associate professor of finance, oversees the Raven Fund and touts the fact that it’s one of several experiences students have for gaining real-world experience, while completing their degree. As for its performance, he points to two things that show the fund’s success.

“While there are many ways to measure success for the Raven Fund, there are two that I believe speak to the success of the students’ involvement with the fund,” said Leeper. “The first is continued support from the Anderson University Board of Trustees who have supported the Raven Fund through steady increases in capital. The second is the ability of students to speak about their own experiences with the Raven Fund during interviews for internships and full-time opportunities.”

Joey Stern ’22, a senior studying national security and finance, is responsible for the consumer staples sector. In his role, he’s in charge of preparing recommendations on what to buy or sell within his sector. Along with managing the consumer staples sector, he also played a role in preparing the annual report and making the presentation to the board of directors.

Stern believes hands-on learning is essential to his growth. “Hands-on learning may still entail some reading and preparing, but instead of just talking about it in the classroom, you are actually doing what you were reading about,” he said. “It makes you actually think through things and ask questions, because a mistake could have actual consequences. It really helps build critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

Julia Jerger ’22 is a senior studying accounting and finance. She wasn’t aware that the Raven Fund was an opportunity for students until learning about it during an investments class her junior year. She got involved through the portfolio management class during the spring semester of her junior year, and served as a co-leader for the healthcare sector of the fund. 

“​​When working with the Raven Fund, I was able to see first-hand the effects of the decisions that were made as a team,” said Jerger. “It has prepared me to see how working on a team with others can drastically help your decisions, and the reasoning for those decisions.”

Stern and Jerger are just two success stories from over a decade of the Raven Fund, which was established in April 2007 with an initial investment of $10,000 from the FSB. Since then, the Investment Committee of the Anderson University Board of Trustees has contributed $800,000 to the fund and by the fall of 2021, the fund manages over $2.4 million.

It’s real-world experience like this that has helped so many FSB graduates enter the workforce as prepared professionals who are ready to make a difference.

Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.

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