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Innovation & Job News

Inventing the Future: Drexel students grow Dragon Fund to $1 million

It's a big year for Drexel University's LeBow College of Business. The school is gaining a brand new twelve-story 177,500-square-foot building, launching an innovative student investment program and fostering the Dragon Fund, now one of the largest student-managed investment portfolios in the country.
The Fund -- which launched during the 2007 to 2008 school year with $250,000 from Drexel's Office of Endowment -- is managed by about 20 students enrolled in advanced finance classes. The group changes each academic quarter. Over the past five years, these student-analysts have earned over $200,000 in returns, despite the recession.
With additional contributions from the University, the fund now controls a record $1 million.
"It's very difficult to get experience in investment," says Daniel Dorn, associate professor of finance at LeBow. "Industries look for people with experience already. We wanted the students to get exposure."
To make the most of their gains, Lebow held ArchiTECH, a competition that paired students with faculty to develop best-uses for the new building. The winning team -- which included Dorn, Ed Nelling, a professor of finance, and David Hunt, a senior finance major-- created a program where student-analysts teleconference with investors from New York, Orlando and further abroad. They can also post their investments online for review by the broader finance community.

"We thought of ways to intensify this experience with industry," says Dorn. "We wanted to extend the classroom."

Such innovations are examples of "reverse mentoring," a new approach wherein students advise academics. "The Office of Endowment considers the Dragon Fund to be one of their investment managers," says Dorn. "It's the students who pitched their services to the university."
Source: Daniel Dorn, LeBow College of Business
Writer: Dana Henry
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