CCM Finance Students Learn About Investing During Turbulent Times

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RANDOLPH, NJ — Business students at County College of Morris (CCM) taking a course in Investment Principles have been learning first-hand how to keep a level head during turbulent times in the stock market.

The students in the course are participating in an investment competition, each having received $100,000 in pretend money to invest in the stock market. At first, the project seemed relatively straightforward – stay on top of the business news, keep an eye on the stock market and develop a strategy. Then COVID-19 struck and the stock market started to roil.

While classroom learning is valuable for providing theory and developing critical thinking skills, “it can only take you so far,” says Enmanuel Adames, of Dover, a student in the Investment Principles class. The investment competition, on the other hand, he adds, “is giving me experience in what you’re getting into when you start investing.”

Becoming Analyzers, Not Reactors

One of the major lessons students in the class are learning, says Andrea Bove, of Totowa, is how to distinguish news from noise – noise being information or responses that can make it difficult to recognize stock value or market trends.

“I feel like everything we learn in the classroom is real,” says Bove. “We’re seeing that when there is a big turn in the stock market you need to not panic and to distinguish news from noise.”

Professor A. Vinay Ved, who teaches the Investment Principles class and oversees the investment competition, notes that losing is also one of the best ways to learn, “As Morgan Wootten stated, ‘You learn more from losing than winning. You learn to keep going.’”

“When something bad happens,” adds Adames, “you need to analyze where things are going. You need to look at the trends.”

“They’re leaning you need to be analyzers not reactors,” says Ved.

Assisting the students in the competition is a new Market Wall the college installed in the Department of Business this semester that displays business news from a variety of sources, along with stock quotes and up-to-date information on who is leading in the investment competition. Students at CCM also utilize StockTrak, a virtual trading platform used at most major universities. 

While the students declined to make any predictions on where they think the stock market is headed, they do point out that anyone investing in stocks should be prepared to suffer some losses.

“You need to know you are going to lose and you have to be in it for the long haul,” says Jaimin Patel, of Parsippany.

This fall, the CCM Business Department will host its second annual Investment Challenge, an investment competition open to all business students. Last year, the competition attracted almost 300 students and the department is hoping to increase that number this year. The Investment Challenge last year awarded $500 in prize money to the top three students.

At CCM, students can earn either an associate degree in Business Administration to transfer to a four-year institution to earn a bachelor’s degree or a Business Professional associate degree for immediate entry into the job market upon graduation. The college also offers certificate programs in Finance, Foundations in Business and Small Business Management. To learn more, visit www.ccm.edu/academics/divdep/bmet/business/.

Photo: County College of Morris Professor A. Vinay Ved (center) with several of his Investment Principles students (l-r) Enmanuel Adames, Jaimin Patel, Andrea Bove and Billy Callahan, who are taking part in an investment challenge at CCM, in front of the Market Wall in the Department of Business.

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