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Finance students take top honors at TVA Investment Challenge

Kim Chaudoin | 

College of Business team at the TVA Investment Challenge in Chattanooga.

A team of Lipscomb University College of Business finance students put their skill to the test in the annual Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Investment Challenge and came out on top. The team earned first place in this year’s competition, in which Lipscomb outperformed 25 other universities, demonstrating excellence in investment strategy and stock market analysis.

The winning team, composed of 56 students across three classes, achieved a stellar portfolio performance of 34.34% in 2023, notably outperforming the S&P 500 by 8.06%. Lipscomb placed ahead of institutions such as the University of Memphis (#2), Tennessee Tech (#3) and Vanderbilt University (#13), among others. Members of the team presented their findings in the spring during the TVA conference in Chattanooga. 

Han-Sheng Chen and Julio Rivas, associate professors of finance at Lipscomb, coach the team. This is the second victory for Lipscomb in this competition in the last four years with a previous first-place finish in 2020. Over the years, Lipscomb has consistently excelled in the TVA Investment Challenge, which began in 1998. Since joining the program in 2003, Lipscomb's average annual returns have exceeded the S&P 500 by 2.41%, reflecting a consistent track record of outstanding performance.

"The success of our students in the TVA Investment Challenge is a great opportunity for our students to apply the financial principles they are learning to real market conditions,” said Chen. “These types of competitions and experiences are valuable learning opportunities for our students.”

TVA slide

The Investment Challenge Program, initiated by TVA with a trust fund of $1.9 million in 1998, allows students from universities throughout the Tennessee Valley to manage real investment portfolios. This hands-on experience is designed to cultivate the skills necessary for the students to excel in the competitive field of finance.

Chen said that Lipscomb’s repeated success in the program has garnered over $80,000 in performance bonuses from TVA, funds that have been reinvested into the College of Business's educational resources, such as Bloomberg terminals and travel opportunities for students competing nationally.

"Our students are encouraged to engage in serious fundamental analysis rather than merely picking stocks that sound appealing," explained Rivas. 

Learn more about Lipscomb’s undergraduate studies in finance.