Business students confident about stocks

by Seth Woehrle

As the stock market continues to bounce from one extreme to the other, some Carlson School of Management students say they are keeping a close eye on the financial news but are not overly worried.

Many students said they invested for the long term, expecting that the current anxieties over accounting practices and fraud by executives are only temporary obstacles. The majority said they supported the federal government’s actions in increasing penalties and enforcement power.

“I’m invested in the broader market, so it doesn’t matter,” said master of business administration student Jesse Zimbauer. “I wouldn’t plan on cashing in my portfolio for 15 or 20 years. I think the general economy is sound.”

Based on a historical 10 percent growth rate from 1988, the current “downturn” economy is actually very close to the reasonable rate where it should be, said Zimbauer.

Other students said they shared Zimbauer’s philosophy that the stock market would deliver back on their investments, and they had no plans to move their money until retirement.

“I feel bad for the people who are about to retire, but I’m glad I still have 30 years left to work,” said MBA student Stacy Bergmann.

Some students differed on whether the corruption was widespread or limited to the “few bad apples,” but most agreed the federal government’s plans to address the problem were necessary and appropriate.

Jeremy Dumond, a 25-year-old MBA student, is skeptical. He said the government’s plan is a positive step but was concerned about the timing.

“It’s only now when constituents are losing money and possibly impacting their donations to campaigns that it is a big-time issue,” he said.

International-business student Nate Sieber said the government was obligated to address the issue but said any action would likely be ineffectual due to the “hypocrisy” of government enforcing proper accounting.

“There’s plenty of poor accounting practices within the government itself. The military has had some significant problems with their contracts,” Sieber said, pointing out that the government relies on accounting firms as much as private investors do.

The situation struck close to home for Dan Myers, who was studying for his accounting degree and thought the problem could be widespread.

“If you don’t look at the fine details of the financial statements, it can be hard to figure out. You really can’t tell,” Myers said, adding that he welcomed the proposed regulations on his future profession.

While the students had different estimates about the length of the current crisis – ranging from less than one year to more than three – all said they think the market is undervalued and said many profitable stocks are at bargain prices.

“I plan on buying as much stock in the next year as possible,” said Zimbauer.