The San Jacinto College Investment Club at the South Campus is shaping future careers in business and finance. In 2021, under accounting professor John Mayes’ guidance, Kasra Davarparast made the most of his student experience as a business major by starting the club. He has since held the role of club president.
Mayes said many students had inquired about trading, creating the need for a space to talk and learn about financial and educational practices. The club facilitates knowledge to its members through six programs:
“One focus is financial education, which includes weekly meetings that summarize market events and discuss various topics, from derivatives to the industry's evolution,” Mayes said. “The second focus is investing. The club manages a club paper account using TD Ameritrade’s Think or Swim platform.”
The club is known for the Industry Mentor Program, an opportunity to gain investing insights, professional development, and networking with industry professionals.
Davarparast started the club last spring, and the team has been working on creating a “unique and exceptional project.” He believes they’ve created the first simulated, student-led portfolio and hedge fund management across all the community colleges in Texas and possibly the U.S.
On a mission
The club provides student members valuable educational and practical experience in the analysis and management of diverse investment portfolios. Along with guidance from academic experts and industry professionals, members gain the confidence and experience necessary to apply their learned skills to achieve personal financial goals.
“We want to narrow the financial education gap between schools and allow those intellectually curious to stand out,” Davarparast said. “Through these goals, we aim to better each member's prospects on the financial services industry as leaders.”
Club members include students who are passionate about finance, namely investing. The College’s subject matter experts in finance and business offer mentoring to student members.
Not everyone is savvy on business and financial lingo, leaving some to wonder — what is portfolio and hedge fund management?
A hedge fund is a sum managed by investors who use a range of strategies, including leveraging or trading non-traditional assets, to earn above-average investment returns.
Why is this club so unique?
According to Davarparast, fund management has operated only in graduate schools like Rice University and New York University but not community colleges.
Despite not having the same sizable funds as the universities, he believes the club can still be a great example for other community colleges.
Rising and shining
“The primary purpose of their project is to educate the College’s student body on best practices for personal finance, career planning, networking, investment research, and job shadowing,” Mayes said. “This is an excellent accomplishment because there needs to be more focus on personal finance and mentorship networking.”
The club participated in a Zoom call with Peter Tuchman, a stock trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The experience inspired Davarparast even more.
“Tuchman invited us over to visit Wall Street and said he was very impressed with our recent achievements,” he said.
Learn more about San Jac's business programs.