The Torch Funds allow graduate and undergraduate students at the Haslam College of Business to gain valuable experience managing a portfolio of securities on a live exchange. Students must apply to become Torch Fund managers, and the process is highly competitive. The college’s Carroll, Haslam, LaPorte and McClain Torch Fund managers have unlimited access to the Masters Investment Learning Center’s resources to manage these funds.
Graduate Torch Funds
The Haslam and LaPorte Torch Funds provide Haslam’s first-year MBA students the opportunity to manage a portfolio of securities currently worth approximately $1.6 million combined.
Beginning October 1, selected students manage either the Haslam Torch Fund or the LaPorte Torch Fund, conducting three performance reports and giving oral presentations to stakeholders within the college including James A. Haslam II, Christopher and Quinita LaPorte and the Torch Fund Professional Advisory Board.
The reports detail the fund’s holdings and performance over three performance periods and relate that performance to a benchmark based on the S&P 500 and Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index.
Haslam and LaPorte Torch Fund managers are selected each September and receive a total of three academic credit hours for their one-year tenure as a wealth manager. The three hours in Finance 585 count as a finance elective and are awarded at the end of the one-year tenure.
Undergraduate Torch Funds
The Carroll and McClain Torch Funds allow junior and senior undergraduate students the opportunity to manage a portfolio of securities currently worth approximately $750,000 combined. The funds provide a learning experience that adds to a student’s financial education and enhances potential investment-related employment. The Carroll fund focuses primarily on wealth management and the McClain fund takes a value-investing approach.
The Carroll and McClain Torch Fund managers receive a maximum of three academic credit hours in finance (Finance 495) for their multi-semester management of a fund. Each semester, managers are responsible for performance reports as well as various oral presentations. Both funds are benchmarked against the S&P 500, with additional benchmarks for the the Carroll fund against Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index.
Students are selected for the program in both the spring and fall semesters. To apply, students must have completed Finance 301 with a C or better and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in all upper-division business courses.
Participation in the Carroll or McClain Torch Fund is by faculty permission only. Students who wish to be considered for the multisemester position of portfolio manager should send a current resume, letter indicating their interest and a one-page discussion of their academic and work background to the current Torch Fund director.