This page has been filled recently with viewpoints and columns discussing the future of Detroit, Ann Arbor’s neighboring big city. Detroit is no stranger to the aftermath of the recent financial crisis. Cities across the nation felt the impact as the economy slid further and further into disrepair. The financial crisis we have been in since 2007 is finally starting to turn around, and the economy will slowly rebuild itself. But what is the best way to prevent something like this from happening again? It’s not more regulation on banks from the government — financial institutions will always find ways to get around these laws. It’s education of our citizens that will prevent people from being taken advantage of and will hopefully increase everyone’s financial health.

Since I have been at the University, I’ve become involved with a finance and investing club that focuses on just that. Michigan Interactive Investments is the most prominent student-run investment club at the Ross School of Business. The 2010-2011 school year marks the 13th year of MII as a student-run investment club. The club focuses on educating its members on a variety of topics, including stocks, bonds, derivatives and alternative investments. Each meeting includes an education component taught by an experienced member as well as an investment pitch, and additional weekend workshops are set up for members to attend. Every year, the club builds a portfolio of investments in order to educate members through active real world investing. Members are assigned to a group of five or six students, and these groups select and research stocks that will be held in the club’s portfolio.

In 2009, MII decided to expand its investment education goal to colleges and universities across the country. That March, they held their first Undergraduate Investment Conference with the intention of showcasing undergraduate students’ investment skills as well as giving them an opportunity to learn from industry professionals. In its inaugural year, the UIC brought in students from 17 top universities to take part in panel discussions and investment presentations. At the core of UIC is the Stock Pitch Competition. Each participating school forms a team of two to four students, who then research and pitch a stock to a panel of industry judges. Students gain real world experience and get a feel for what it would be like to do the same sort of research and work within the financial services industry.

Participants are also given the opportunity to hear leading industry experts talk about their experiences. Past keynote speakers have included Michael Gelband of Millennium Management and David Richter, managing director of Investments for Grosvenor Capital Management. In past years, Forbes magazine and Morningstar have published media coverage of the UIC.

Based on past success, the 2011 UIC has expanded participation to 24 schools, including the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, University of California Berkeley and Cornell University. A keynote speech will be delivered by Marc Lasry of Avenue Capital Group at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 18. The final round of the competition will feature the four teams who will compete for the $3,000 grand prize on Saturday, March 19 at 3 p.m. Both events will be held in Blau Auditorium of the Ross School of Business.

In a time when financial health is more important than ever, MII is trying to educate not only its own members, but students from universities across the nation. All students from any major at the University are welcome to attend, as well as faculty staff members and Ann Arbor residents. For more information, please go to

Ashley Griesshammer is a senior editorial page editor.

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