Turns out they’re not just engineers over at MIT.
A half dozen graduate business students at the Sloan School of Management came out on top in an investment contest that pitted them against rivals at the Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and the University of Chicago.
It was a short-term sprint, overseeing $10,000 for two months, from Oct. 3 through Dec. 2. The MIT crew ended with a 3.6 percent return, outdoing the Standard & Poor’s 500 index’s 2.5 percent return in that period, according to Peeptrade, a social network that allows people to see each other’s portfolios.
Endowment followers may recall that MIT’s $13.2 billion endowment has been leading the charts in recent years, outperforming Harvard University and other elite schools over a decade. Fiscal 2016 wasn’t a barn burner -- the MIT endowment, run by Seth Alexander, was up just 0.8 percent for the 12 months ended June 30 -- but then Harvard was down 2 percent for the year.
Meanwhile, on the Sloan campus, first-year year student Hunter Dray and his cohorts in the Investment Management Club crafted an investment plan and created a quantitative method for picking stocks, then followed up with fundamental research on their top companies.
Their portfolio included companies such as childcare provider Bright Horizons Family Solutions, investment giant BlackRock Inc., and car maker General Motors Co.
Dray, 27, said GM was one of the better performers, thanks in part to consumers continuing to buy SUVs and trucks because gas prices have stayed low. “That made for a pretty compelling thesis,’’ said Dray, who worked for Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for two years before attending grad school.
On Dec. 3, more than 30 students from eight schools made their investment presentations to a panel of three judges in Chicago. After MIT, Tuck came in second with nearly a 3 percent return, followed by the University of North Carolina at 1.8 percent.
Bringing up the rear were Georgetown University graduates in finance, with a tough 7.4 percent loss. The University of Chicago team saw a 3.5 percent loss.
In a statement, Georgetown Associate Professor James J. Angel said managing money under competitive pressure gave students “a far more realistic, yet fun experience than any classroom exercise could have given them.”
Dray agrees it was fun, though the students didn’t get to keep the money. A follow-up question from the Princeton team: Can they trade options next time?