Business School Students Will Trade Stocks With Real Money

Earl W. Stafford is the CEO of The Wentworth Group, a holding company based in Reston, Virginia, providing financial and business support services to the small business community. In 2002 he founded the Stafford Foundation which invests in capacity-building efforts that equip the underserved through programs that provide health, education, training, and faith-based mission support. The foundation made headlines in 2009 when it brought 400 low-income people to Washington to participate in the inauguration of Barack Obama as president.

Stafford holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from Southern Illinois University.

Now the Stafford Foundation has made a unique grant to Virginia State University. The university received a $100,000 donation to establish the Trading Portfolio Fund at the Reginald F. Lewis School of Business. The university recently completed work on a high-tech, stock market trading center that provides a simulated Wall Street trading room experience for Virginia State’s business students. Students in the course “Advanced Investment Management,” are taught how to research equity issues and build portfolios. In the past, the students used simulations to buy and sell securities. Now, with the Stafford Trading Portfolio Fund, they will actually make real transactions with the goal of building the fund.

Mirta M. Martin, dean of the business school at Virginia State, says, “Students will no longer have to theorize about trading. They will have the ability to trade stocks with real money as though they were on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. This will enhance their educational experience and provide them with a competitive advantage in a constantly changing marketplace.”

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