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Online Classroom, Real World Experience

Written by Brian Tocci

Editor’s note: Brian Tocci is Director of Operations for Larsen Motorsports and a student in Florida Tech’s MBA program. As part of Florida Tech’s affiliation with Larsen Motorsports, Tocci has been awarded a scholarship to pursue his graduate degree online.

As I am nearing the end of my MBA, I have reflected on all the different classes and everything I have learned over the last two years. Although I have learned so much that I have been able to use and will be able to use, the one project that was the most interesting and one of the most useful was for BUS 5446, Investment Management.

Learning How to Invest

The class taught about different investment strategies and their pros and cons. We put our strategies to the test with a project where we competed with the rest of the class to earn the highest returns. The project started out with a website called StockTrak.com, where your account started out with $1,000,000 cash. With that initial investment, you used StockTrak to follow the market and put your investment strategy to use, and over six weeks you were able to invest how you wanted to, ranging from stocks, bonds, futures, to options.

What made this project so interesting was that you were following the actual stock market and investing to fit your personal goals. I personally never invested in the markets until this project, so the whole project gave me a huge amount of knowledge I previously didn’t have.

Early on in the project, I learned about diversification of one’s portfolio to decrease risk. I had a good portion of my portfolio in the technology sector; then, the technology sector took a downturn, and I could notice it in my portfolio. I figured out that I had to add more diversification to avoid this from happening again, and ended up with a 6% return over the six weeks.

Since completing that project, I have used what I learned from the project in my real life and have had good returns so far. It also taught me how to make your money work for you and grow rather than just sit there idly with no returns.

Real-World Learning Opportunities

I didn’t have to be far into the MBA program to make use of class projects either. In the first class I took, BUS 5601 Business Essentials 1, I had to develop a business plan. I luckily was able to create a business plan for the company I recently started at the time, Shock Diamond Designs. The company repurposes old aviation parts and creates furniture and art with an aviation theme, from tables to clocks to business card holders. I took the knowledge from the class to create a business plan that took my company to the next level. It taught me how to find and estimate a market size, discover potential products, conduct a SWOT analysis and much more. I am constantly updating the business plan and keeping it as a living document for my company because of what I’ve been learning throughout my program.

The best part about almost all of the projects I have worked on over the last few years is that nearly every one of them has been useful to either my personal life or my professional life. You can really see the benefits quickly when you take what you learn from these classes and projects and implement them.

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