Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business received a $250,000 gift from Dan Davidowitz and Polen Capital Management, LLC (“Polen”) matched by the FAU Foundation to name The Polen Capital – Florida Atlantic University Foundation Student Investment Fund. The $500,000 fund will launch FAU’s first student-managed investment fund (SMIF).
SMIFs are funds students use to research and invest in stocks, bonds or other financial assets to build a well-diversified portfolio. Students decide which assets to buy or sell with the assistance of faculty or volunteers from investment firms. By providing students with experiential training in investment portfolio management, the college can enhance student placement in competitive internships and permanent positions at large financial institutions.
“Managing a portfolio valued at $500,000 is an amazing learning experience and an excellent conversation starter for students in job interviews,” said Daniel Gropper, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Business. “Our proximity to Palm Beach County’s thriving financial hub makes FAU an ideal training ground for future money managers.”
Coined “Wall Street South,” Palm Beach County has experienced massive investment industry growth during the past few years with more than 2,400 financial service firms, including Polen Capital, headquartered in Boca Raton.
A global investment powerhouse with $64 billion in assets and more than 30 years of experience, Polen is also dedicated to charitable giving, having received the 2022 Best Philanthropic Initiative Award from With Intelligence. Polen has supported initiatives in the College of Business and the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters for nearly a decade, including service on the College of Business’ advisory board. This most recent gift marks the firm’s largest contribution to FAU.
“As a strong believer in empowering the next generation of financial leaders, we are thrilled to support the launch of this student-led investment fund,” said Rachel Trock, chief people officer at Polen Capital. “Providing students with the opportunity to manage a portfolio is a valuable learning experience and a stepping stone for success in their future careers. I am confident that this partnership will nurture a new wave of skilled money managers and further strengthen FAU’s position as a leading business program.”
With the official launch on Aug. 20, the three-credit hour investment fund course will be offered to all business majors through an application process. Unlike a simulation, this rigorous course will train students to participate in real-time financial decision-making using real money. At the end of the semester, students will present their stock recommendations and participate in trading. They also will have an opportunity to experience pitch competitions to propose their recommended stocks in front of a group of investors.
“Through this matching gift, the FAU Foundation is strengthening this public and private sector partnership, while creating greater opportunity for our FAU business students,” said Brian Poulin, chair of the FAU Foundation Board.
FAU joins other business schools in Florida that have established SMIFs. According to the 2022 National Association of College and University Business Officers report, it is likely that the number of schools offering student-run investment programs will continue to grow. Funding for this initiative helps solidify FAU’s College of Business among the exceptional business programs nationwide that offer students an opportunity to manage and administer a well-diversified portfolio.