Investing in their future through competition
Even though its season ended in early March, men's basketball student-athletes continued to compete (albeit from a distance) throughout the spring quarter thanks to a program alum and Aggie EVO.
"We were looking for ways to engage with our alumni and those close to the program, this opportunity seemed like a natural fit," said associate head coach Kevin Nosek.
"Facilitating team engagement during a pandemic, continuing the "big picture" thinking we utilize in our Aggie EVO program, and keeping the competitive juices flowing while educating ourselves on the power of investing were the objectives of this stock market simulation."
To provide background information about the stock market and strategies players could use to enjoy a high a return, the program invited former men's basketball student-athlete Ryan Moore to speak to the team.
"I was super excited about this stock market simulation and becoming part of this experience," said Moore. "Coach Nosek contacted me a week or two before it started and asked if I could participate in a video call with everyone, share information about investing in stocks and provide an educational experience for the student-athletes.
"Given the timing of this exercise, it was interesting to start a project like this since, in real life, we were right in the middle of a very volatile stock market," added the senior private wealth relationship manager who works for Merrill Private Wealth Management.
Moore encouraged everyone to pay attention to trends that were taking place in the economy; at that time, the major trend involved people transitioning from the office environment to working at home. Early in that transition, some of the stocks that represented companies that helped people enjoy an efficient transition or effectively deal with the quarantine — Netflix, Amazon and Peloton, to name a few examples — experienced positive returns.
"We also discussed longer-term trends they may want to focus on outside the simulation, which involved paying attention to demographic shifts around the world, especially in areas with emerging markets. They should also focus on the rise of the middle class across emerging markets, increasing incomes in emerging markets and how that changes consumer behaviors.
"A huge portion of the world's population live in emerging markets, which includes a large portion of the population who are in their teens, 20s, 30s, or starting their careers. That is an ongoing trend that I encouraged them to pay attention to as well," Moore added.
Following that April Zoom call, each student-athlete began the stock market simulation with $500,000 to invest over a three-month period. There was only one rule everyone needed to follow: Players must invest their entire allotment.
By implementing wisdom gained from Moore's presentation, and following his astute direction, every member of the team enjoyed a positive return. By creating a diverse portfolio centered on cloud companies and the medical industry, sophomore guard Cameron Ba led all players with just over an 18 percent return rate.
Projects like this one support Aggie EVO's mission of preparing UC Davis student-athletes for a successful launch — defined as meaningful full-time employment or graduate school — after they earn a degree from the fifth-ranked public school in the nation. By connecting with Moore before the simulation commenced, current Aggies learned about wealth management, the steps he took to build a career within this field, and how they can create a successful path of their own within the industry.
"The feedback received was really good, I was impressed with the amount and type of questions asked on that Zoom call. The call lasted over an hour, I was not sure how engaged the guys would be leading up to that conversation," Moore said.
"A couple guys reached out to me separately one-on-one to continue the discussion regarding investment ideas they had, asked questions about my career path and how one can break into the private investment or finance industry. I was impressed by their questions and loved the follow-up," he added.
Since Moore lives and works in Southern California, traveling to campus and speaking with the team in person limited his ability to give back to the program in previous years. Thanks to Zoom's user-friendly interface and popularity, especially during the spring quarter when student-athletes participated in distance learning from home, this geographic challenge was instantly eliminated.
"Getting to know the current coaching staff, and them knowing that I am available for anything that is needed, whether I am a mentor or participate in calls with the team, is important to me. I was interested in becoming involved with the team in some way and felt excited to participate in this manner."
Moore's personal experience with men's basketball's stock market simulation showed firsthand what makes Aggie EVO a vital component of a UC Davis student-athletes' undergraduate career.
One of the most talented players in program history added that "awareness of what is happening in the business world at that age, and gaining exposure is extremely valuable. I would have loved this opportunity when I was a student-athlete."