College of Business Instructor Finds Success Inside and Out of the Classroom
Brown said, "It is always nice to be recognized for your achievements, especially by your peers. I have a fundamental belief in helping clients achieve their goals and objectives, and this recognition in some ways validates that I am succeeding." He continued, "On the professional side, I am so fortunate to have great clients, a remarkable partner and team, and a leading regional firm to work with. Those three entities make this honor possible. On a personal level, I feel very blessed to be able to pursue my passion of helping others right here in Bozeman."
Brown exemplifies many facets of the College of Business at Montana State University. An alumnus of the College, he went on to become a very successful business leader in the Bozeman community. Brown is a financial consultant, vice president and co-manager of Bozeman's branch of D.A. Davidson & Co. He passes along years of knowledge and experience to the College's current students, where he teaches Finance 400, the Student Investment Program (SIP) - a course that allows students to participate in actual stock market investments.
The SIP was started by Ian Davidson, who joined his father, David Adam Davidson, in 1958 as D.A. Davidson & Co.'s third employee. After teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, Davidson saw a profound need for upper-level business students to have hands-on education in investing and portfolio management. In1985, Davidson provided $50,000 for the MSU College of Business Finance 400 Seminar course, allowing students to invest it in the stock market. The program quickly became recognized as the best of its kind in the northwest and is now offered at 20 northwest colleges of business.
Brown has been teaching the SIP course at MSU since 2002. He said, "I try to add value by giving the students some practical application of what they are learning [in the classroom]. By providing them with the opportunity to invest real money, they take the class very seriously, and at the same time sharpen their skills in evaluating a portfolio and the individual securities."
Each term, his students' aspire to rank in the top 30% of all of the schools participating and generally find themselves quite successful - a clear reflection of the quality instruction they receive. "My students start with a top-down investment approach. That is, they go up to 30,000 feet and formulate their views on the economy and the markets in general," said Brown. "Then, each student specializes in a particular sector of the market. They make specific stock recommendations based on their findings."
In order to make the program as life-like as possible, D.A. Davidson contributes half of all the earnings over five percent to each participating college, an incentive that has earned the College of Business more than $24,000 since the program's inception. The company prints out reports at the end of each quarter, which document how well the students' investments are doing. And, as Brown pointed out, "Although the class is not geared as a competition between schools, the students are quick to point out that this is one Cat-Griz battle that they have won for many years..."
Like all of the faculty members of the College of Business, Brown sincerely desires that his students succeed. "My personal goal for each student is to have them develop their own personal investment philosophy. I also want to give the students a bird s-eye view of all different facets of the financial services arena. They learn about a wide range of careers in the industry and get a chance to talk with portfolio managers, analysts, investment bankers, strategists, mutual fund representatives, and others in our senior management team."
Who knows? One more student may go on to make the "Top Advisors Under 40" list in years to come.