Unnati, a student-run mutual fund, has been useful in helping students understand aspects of finance better.

What can be more exciting for a finance student than running his/her own mutual fund and dabbling in the stock market?

Unnati, the country’s first student-run mutual fund, was started at MDI Gurgaon in 2001 with a corpus of Rs. 50,000. Today, the students manage over Rs 20 lakh with over 600 investors.

Anil Mishra, an associate professor who supervises the team, says, “This initiative provides the students a launchpad to enhance their learning through the experience of managing a real investment portfolio.”

The students agree. Archit Shukla, who has been part of the club for over a year, says, “Unnati has helped me in developing a critical reasoning ability with respect to analysing businesses from the investment point of view. Fundamental analysis and value investing methodologies for stock selection will help me greatly in managing my personal portfolio.”

Being a part of Unnati is not compulsory. Those who apply are either interested in taking up finance as a specialisation or are interested in the financial world. Students from marketing and HR apply in large numbers.

Getting in

The selection process is rigorous, according to member Syed Fahd Iqbal. He says, “We have a written test followed by multiple rounds of interview for the shortlisted candidates. The senior team consists of 14 members, selected from the 22 junior members of the previous year on the basis of their performance.”

Rishi Maheshwari, acting coordinator, explains, “There are well-defined roles for everyone in the team.

There are senior analysts (from the second year) and junior analysts (from the first year) who are responsible for selecting the stock in their domain.

The coordinators are responsible for managing the investments and overseeing the day-to-day workings. The discussions happen in our classrooms after the scheduled sessions.”

Each of the students has his/her own reason for being part of Unnati. Archit enjoys the discussions on stocks, industry verticals, Indian economy and global economy as they supplement classroom teachings and help in understanding finer aspects of finance. For Syed, it offers a “tremendous learning opportunity, if one is willing to work hard.” Rishi likes stock recommendations the most.

Have an open mind

Senior analysts have some words of advice for analysts of the future. Syed says, “Work with dedication to uphold the traditions and the basic ideals on which this club is built upon. A focus on learning should always be at the core of Unnati.”

Adding to this, Rishi says, “Don’t get lured by the abnormally high projections and expectations of the management of the company. Use your own discretion while evaluating them.”

At the same time, Archit reminds them to maintain professionalism and have an open mind.

“Keep in mind the importance of transparency and professionalism in our activities. It is dangerous to have preconceived notions and a rigid mindset while making investment decisions,” he says.