Calm markets invite student fund managers to test their skills with confidence. The opposite can cause enough anxiety to rival exam weeks. For students graduating in 2012, their experience verged on the latter.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, a gauge of investor fear, rose 33 percent in 2011. That left business students—many of whom were managing portfolios for the first time as class assignments—to navigate the choppy waters. So who outperformed?

Here, Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the 2012 winners of the University of Dayton's annual student investment competition. The contest evaluated the risk-adjusted performance of student funds in calendar year 2011. Dayton estimates that more than 200 business programs task students with managing real portfolios. Its own students (who don't take part in the competition) are responsible for $14 million of the university's endowment. This year's contest had 34 entries from 25 schools. Participants competed in six categories. Following are the first-place winners in each.

Photograph by Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Calm markets invite student fund managers to test their skills with confidence. The opposite can cause enough anxiety to rival exam weeks. For students graduating in 2012, their experience verged on the latter.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, a gauge of investor fear, rose 33 percent in 2011. That left business students—many of whom were managing portfolios for the first time as class assignments—to navigate the choppy waters. So who outperformed?

Here, Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the 2012 winners of the University of Dayton's annual student investment competition. The contest evaluated the risk-adjusted performance of student funds in calendar year 2011. Dayton estimates that more than 200 business programs task students with managing real portfolios. Its own students (who don't take part in the competition) are responsible for $14 million of the university's endowment. This year's contest had 34 entries from 25 schools. Participants competed in six categories. Following are the first-place winners in each.

Photograph by Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Top Student-Run Investment Funds

Jittery Markets Take Their Toll
Jittery Markets Take Their Toll

Calm markets invite student fund managers to test their skills with confidence. The opposite can cause enough anxiety to rival exam weeks. For students graduating in 2012, their experience verged on the latter.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, a gauge of investor fear, rose 33 percent in 2011. That left business students—many of whom were managing portfolios for the first time as class assignments—to navigate the choppy waters. So who outperformed?

Here, Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the 2012 winners of the University of Dayton's annual student investment competition. The contest evaluated the risk-adjusted performance of student funds in calendar year 2011. Dayton estimates that more than 200 business programs task students with managing real portfolios. Its own students (who don't take part in the competition) are responsible for $14 million of the university's endowment. This year's contest had 34 entries from 25 schools. Participants competed in six categories. Following are the first-place winners in each.

Photograph by Scott Eells/Bloomberg
 Shippensburg University
Shippensburg University

Shippensburg, Pa.

Fund: Global Collegiate Fund
Category: Growth
Value of Portfolio: $10,680
2011 Risk-Adjusted Return: 1.98 percent


Three Best Investments and 2011 Returns:
Terra Nitrogen (TNH), 55.3 percent
Limited Brands (LTD), 42.4 percent
Discover Financial Services (DFS), 29.5 percent

Three Worst Investments and 2011 Returns:
Transocean (RIG), -44.8 percent
Regions Financial (RF), -38.6 percent
Peabody Energy (BTU), -11.6 percent

Photograph by Scott Eells/Bloomberg
James Madison University
James Madison University

Harrisonburg, Va.

Fund: Madison Investment Fund
Category: Value
Value of Portfolio: $132,722
2011 Risk-Adjusted Return: 0.92 percent

Three Best Investments and 2011 Returns:
VF (VFC), 54.4 percent
Bioasis Technologies (BTI), 22.1 percent
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), 20.4 percent

Three Worst Investments and 2011 Returns:
Metlife (MET), -29.8 percent
ABB (ABB), -20.3 percent
Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO), -18.8 percent

Photograph by Mike Fuentes/Bloomberg
University of Mount Union
University of Mount Union

Alliance, Ohio

Fund: Hillier Fund
Category: Core
Value of Portfolio: $91,170
2011 Risk-Adjusted Return: 2.56 percent

Three Best Investments and 2011 Returns:
MarkWest Energy Partners (MWE), 35.1 percent
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), 21.6 percent
Smuckers (SJM), 8.67 percent

Three Worst Investments and 2011 Returns:
SunTrust Banks (STI), -12.1 percent
Deere & Co. (DE), -6.18 percent
Adobe Systems (ADBE),- 4.5 percent

Photograph by Benoit Decout/REA/Redux
Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser University

Vancouver, B.C.

Fund: SIAS Fund
Category: Balanced
Value of Portfolio: $10.35 million
2011 Risk-Adjusted Return: 0.48 percent

Three Best Investments and 2011 Returns:
Enbridge (ENB), 39.7 percent
McDonald's (MCD), 38.7 percent
Visa (V), 36.5 percent

Three Worst Investments and 2011 Returns:
Research In Motion (RIMM), -67.9 percent
Citigroup (C), -37.6 percent
Manulife Financial (MFC), -34.5 percent

Photograph by Daniele Mattioli/Anzenberger/Redux
Stetson University
Stetson University

DeLand, Fla.

Fund: Roland George Income Fund
Category: Fixed Income
Value of Portfolio: $1.32 million
2011 Risk-Adjusted Return: 5.59 percent

Three Best Investments and 2011 Returns:
Aetna (AET) 7.25 percent debentures due 2023; 9.15 percent
KLA-Tencor (KLAC) 6.9 percent notes due 2018; 8.7 percent
Sempra Energy (SRE) 9.8 percent notes due 2019; 8.2 percent

Three Worst Investments and 2011 Returns:
Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT) 5.625 percent bonds due 2017; 4.12 percent
Altria Group (MO) 9.95 percent notes due 2038; 4.3 percent
R.R. Donnelley & Sons (RRD) 11.25 percent bonds due 2019; 5 percent

Photograph by Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, Ala.

Fund: Green & Gold Fund
Category: Alternative
Value of Portfolio: $476,774
2011 Risk-Adjusted Return: 0.42 percent

Three Best Investments and 2011 Returns:
Altisource Portfolio Solutions (ASPS), 70 percent
Verisk Analytics (VRSK), 20 percent
Occidental Petroleum (OXY), 20 percent

Three Worst Investments and 2011 Returns:
EMC (EMC), -22 percent
Oracle (ORCL), -21 percent
Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), -20 percent

Photograph by Oliver Morin/AFP/GettyImages