Background

In 1999, SunTrust donated $1 million to the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business to help further its mission to prepare students for the challenges of a competitive global economy. Half of this generous gift was used to create an auditorium that has since enabled the school to host programs and conferences that connect our students to thought-leaders in the business world. The remaining $500,000 was used to create a scholarship investment portfolio that is managed by Rollins MBA students through an advanced portfolio management class.

Today, the Crummer SunTrust Portfolio not only gives Rollins MBA students a direct, real-world experience in investments, it funds scholarships to give more students the opportunity to attend graduate business school at Rollins.

The Crummer SunTrust Portfolio has closely tracked both S&P 500 and its equity-bond benchmark year over year since its inception in 1999. Students in each cohort spend the semester researching and analyzing potential investments. At the end of the semester, they present their recommendations to a panel of investment professionals who review their work and give them real-world perspective before they make their trades.

From 1999 through 2007, the late Professor Ed Moses was the guiding light behind the Crummer SunTrust Portfolio. He designed the course, mentored generations of students, and supervised the portfolio’s investments. Ed joined the Crummer Graduate School of Business in September 1989, serving as Dean, Professor of Finance, and Director of the Executive MBA program. He also was named Bank of America Chair of Finance, recognizing his excellence in teaching, research and service. This site was set up after his passing in 2010 and is dedicated to his memory, in the same way he was dedicated to his students.

In 2008, Professor Clay Singleton took over the course and the supervisory duty for the Crummer SunTrust Portfolio. During his 13 years of tenure as the Cornell Professor of Finance, he oversaw 137 students as they managed the portfolio. Despite having faced two major market crashes accompanied by unique economic downturns on both ends of this period, the portfolio provided more than $400,000 in scholarships and still managed to appreciate by more than 30%.

Clay’s impact on the pedagogical aspects of the portfolio was equally profound as the students have been exposed to evolving modern techniques that combine academic rigor and excellence in practice. The current methodology of overlay/portfolio tilt is both quantitative and qualitative in nature and involves portfolio construction methods like risk budgeting and risk parity as well as screening themes such as “the rise of the global middle class” and “ESG investing”.

Beginning with the class of 2021, Clay has passed the torch to Professor Koray Simsek, who joined Crummer in 2016 and co-taught this class with him in 2019 and 2020.