Beach Investment Group (B.I.G.)
This is a team of CSULB College of Business students who are interested in finance, the practice of portfolio management, asset allocation, accounting, economics, business strategy, and statistics. These students can make investment decisions, also engage in econometric modeling, research of specific economic sectors, and the study of corporate cultures, and performance histories. Leadership skills and group dynamics are practiced by working together closely to plan investment strategies and by presenting their results.
"What BIG has done for me is cultivate a desire to pursue a career in asset pricing and quantitative analysis. Without the experience I gained as an analyst from BIG, I would not have the passion and body of knowledge I have now for portfolio theory and investment analysis. " - Raymond Leiva, Alumni, BIG Class of 2019
The students of the Beach Investment Group are responsible for managing over half a million dollars’ worth of portfolios on behalf of three non-profit clients:
- CSULB Research Foundation (the Seegers Fund),
- Forty-Niner Shops, Inc. (the 49er SMIF Fund), and
- CFA Society of Orange County (the CFAOC SMIF Portfolio).
These portfolios are invested in a mix of fixed income and equity securities, and a mix of value and momentum equity holdings.
A major real-world component of the B.I.G.-SMIF experience for recent B.I.G.-SMIF classes has been their participation in the Annual Portfolio Management Request-for-Proposal (RFP) Competition conducted by the CFA Society of Orange County Foundation (CFAOCF), which allows student teams from local universities to experience first-hand the process that fund managers must go through in order to be allowed to manage institutional funds. Based on the outcome of this Competition, portfolios of different sizes will be awarded to the various student teams to manage over the course of the following calendar year, with the results of their efforts being reported to the CFAOC’s Investment Policy Committee.
B.I.G. Portfolio Managers seek the opportunity to apply their knowledge of finance to gain career-advancing experience in professional portfolio management using real dollars in real time to learn the lessons that cannot be learned from strictly academic endeavors.
Some of the concrete skills and experiences students can expect in BIG include:
Presentations - BIG teams must develop high-quality, research-informed, professional presentations for competitions and events throughout the academic year. Additionally, students will often present to peers weekly on economic updates and buy/sell recommendations. BIG provides opportunities to improve public speaking and presentation skills.
Security Analysis & Trading - With the goal of exceeding benchmark expectations and following ESG guidelines, BIG students gain real-time experience analyzing and recommending securities in the market, as well as carrying out corporate voting procedures to pass proposed actions.
Leadership Roles - BIG's corporate structure includes one President, one Executive Vice President, and several Vice President/Team Leads. BIG relies on high-level, team-first leadership and provides opportunities for students to grow via executive roles.
Marketing & Development - Students interested in marketing and business development are able to take on social media, grassroots, and networking marketing efforts to increase BIG exposure and student applications. BIG includes one Marketing & Development Director.
Bloomberg Terminals - A key tool used by the students of BIG are the Bloomberg terminals of the College's Bloomberg Lab
B.I.G. is an application-only course and accepts new students every Fall semester (Fall 2020 upcoming). Below are the application steps:
- Application via Email - Will become available in Spring 2020. A link will be emailed to all students via their CSULB student email.
- Completion of Form Application.
- Attendance at Summer Bootcamps - Students interested in BIG are required to attend as many as (3) Bootcamp sessions during the prospective summer leading into the Fall semester. During these sessions, students will work together on increasing their knowledge of investment concepts and practices, gain exposure to the BIG portfolios, and improve their team-building abilities. Teams will present at each Bootcamp session for a panel of judges and undergo Q&A. Dates of Summer Bootcamps will be disclosed to applicants after completion of Form Application.
- Final Interview - Students are asked back for a formal interview round, a resume and cover letter are required
Beach Investment Group (B.I.G.), formerly known as the Student-Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) Program, was launched in Fall 1995 with a single portfolio worth $50,000 and a goal to provide its participant students, including both undergraduate and master’s students, and both Finance and non-Finance majors, “with real-world experience in applying the skills and concepts of security analysis and portfolio management that have been taught in the classroom toward the management of a real-money portfolio”. The program has continued to grow since its founding, and the students of Beach Investment Group are now entrusted with managing over half a million dollars, spread across three separate portfolios.
The application process for students interested in participating in B.I.G. starts in late spring semester with the completion and submission of an online application form. This is followed during the summer with a series of B.I.G. “summer boot camp” sessions and concludes with final candidate interviews after which the incoming year’s new class is chosen. The selected students will receive course credit for their activities through FIN 499A/B or FIN 699A/B.