You probably can’t get a more well-rounded business school education than Bridget Momper’s.
The Class of 2022 University of Dayton graduate spent the last two years helping to oversee the largest student-managed portfolio in the United States, including as senior manager in her senior year. And what a couple of years it has been: Through March, the Dayton School of Business Administration’s Flyer Investment Fund boasted assets under management of more than $64 million.
The fund has more than doubled its size in just the last two years.
“Being the senior manager of the fund was a dream of mine since freshman year, and to get that call that I was going to be the next senior manager was probably the highlight of my college career,” says Momper, a Cincinnati native who graduated in May. “This past year has been a really amazing experience. I’ve learned so much.”
‘AN UNBELIEVABLE GROUP’
Investors of all stripes could learn from students at Dayton, a small Catholic university in Ohio, who have been running the Flyer Fund for 23 years. When it first launched in 1999 it was a small, $1 million fund; by 2010 it was worth more than $11 million. Seven years ago, the Flyer Fund — a portion coming from the university’s endowment and a pool of assets for the Dayton Foundation, a local nonprofit — was valued at $22 million.
As senior manager at the Davis Center for Portfolio Management beginning in fall 2021, Momper oversaw a team of associates — all students — making every investment decision: studying the market to decide whether to buy, hold, or sell stocks, all in an environment with state-of-the-art equipment similar to a Wall Street investment firm. Despite market undulations, the Dayton students have outperformed the S&P 500 through a range of smart investments, with an inclination toward tech and sustainability.
“It’s a pretty unbelievable group,” says Dayton School of Business Administration Dean Trevor Collier of the 60 students who work in the Davis Center. “Not only are they putting the hours in the Center, but they actually enjoy most of the hours that they’re putting in.
“If you were in the building right now and we were to walk down into the Center, at least one, maybe two students would jump up, introduce themselves to you, and give you about a two-minute elevator pitch about the center.”
LONG HOURS PAY OFF
The Flyer Fund has been among the top student-led funds in the U.S. since 2007, but it really took off in 2021 under the management of Momper’s predecessor, Chris Flynn, gaining 63% in a single year to more than $50 million. Since Momper took over leadership last fall, the fund gained another 13.8%, though it ended her tenure down slightly from a high of $67.8 million.
Compare that to major student-led funds at some household-name schools: Through last year, the fund at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management was valued at $55 million; at the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, $28 million; at Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, $27.8 million (see table below). Since June 2021, Dayton has eclipsed them all.
Success didn’t happen by accident, Momper tells Poets&Quants. It’s the result of lots of hard work, with students often putting in 50 to 60 hours per week in Dayton’s Davis Center.
They often put in even more, she says. “If you’re on the leadership team, you’re probably putting in more work than some of the analysts,” Momper says. “But that’s just part of the responsibility.”
Adds Dean Collier: “There’s students in the Davis Center almost 24/7. It’s an area that they love to just be in. And I bet Bridget’s underestimating her hours because there will be students in there just sort of trolling through Bloomberg, reading headlines, keeping up with the news, which is imperative to manage a fund that’s impacted by world events.”