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An Imaginary Million

An Imaginary Million

Posted: October 29, 2013

When the stock market opened on October 14, six Buffalo State students began managing a hypothetical stock portfolio of $1 million.

They are the first Buffalo State team to compete against 17 other colleges for the Adirondack Cup, held by Adirondack Research & Management. Jason Cleaver, a senior economics major with a concentration in finance, is the team leader. “I don’t really like the label of leader,” said Cleaver. “We are each leaders in our own way. We all have different strengths that make up our team.” Despite his modesty, Buffalo State would not be involved in the competition without Cleaver’s efforts.

Cleaver spent the summer as an intern at Delaware Avenue Advisors (DAA) where he worked under Gene Chaas, managing director of DAA and lecturer of economics and finance at Buffalo State.

There Cleaver met Greg Roeder, portfolio co-manager for Adirondack Research & Management, who introduced him to the competition. Cleaver then sat with Chaas and Ted Byrley, associate professor and chair of economics and finance, to discuss building a team. “They had a lot of teams signed up to compete and they were hesitant to add more,” said Cleaver. However, Adirondack Research & Management recognized that Buffalo State deserved a spot. The team will compete alongside colleges such as Wesleyan University, Ithaca College, and St. Lawrence University.

As Cleaver built his team, the priorities were talent and commitment. “An ‘investment contest’ sounds sexy,” said Cleaver, “but in reality, it’s long hours and a lot of hard work.” He wanted to be sure that his teammates would be dedicated for the full six months of the competition.

The rules allow investments in companies valued between $50 million and $3 billion. This distinction is known as “small cap” and makes the contest more difficult. “It’s crazy to say, but once you spend some time in the industry you get used to looking at larger amounts of money,” said Cleaver. “It’s hard to diversify our team portfolio with only $1 million.”

The competition has only just begun, and the team is already keeping a close eye on their stocks. “Our picks had a great day yesterday,” said Cleaver. “I think it’s important for everyone in finance to keep an eye on the market and how it’s behaving, but we also have to be careful not to overdo it. We do tons of research beforehand, but once we’ve made our picks it’s out of our hands.”

Cleaver is committed to winning. He is also passionate about Buffalo State’s future in the competition as a chance to exercise the fundamental skills learned in the economics program. “Getting out in the finance world and interacting with other teams is a great opportunity for us,” said Cleaver. “Hopefully Buffalo State will continue with this competition and we can build an alumni network of past participants to help future students enter the workplace.”

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