Empowered Financial Literacy

Empowered Financial Literacy

In a remarkable display of financial acumen, the students of Marlborough's investment class, Mustang Capital, showcased their diligent research and astute investment strategies as they pitched investment ideas for the school’s brand-new student-managed fund to the Finance Committee of the Marlborough Board of Trustees. Established during the 2022-2023 school year, Mustang Capital is an advanced finance course, allowing any student who has completed at least one of the school’s three other personal finance classes to participate. The course—one of only three programs in the Los Angeles independent school sector—is a testament to Marlborough’s commitment to fostering financial literacy among its students.

As an integral part of the course, students were entrusted with a small—but significant—portion of the school’s endowment to manage themselves. The culmination of their semester-long efforts was a compelling presentation before the Finance Committee, where they pitched their portfolio in hopes of securing approval to execute their proposed trades. “It is such an honor to have this opportunity,” reflects Juliet S. ’26, “and we took it really seriously.” Under the guidance of their teacher Mr. Josiah Cameron, these students embarked on a journey that drew from guest speakers, lectures, group work, and independent research. Beyond grasping financial literacy, the primary goals of the course centered on instilling responsible investing practices, with an emphasis on selecting companies that specifically aim to address a long-term societal issue.

As students began researching stocks to include in their pitch, they engaged in a rigorous yet democratic decision-making process. It involved both committee-based and individual research, presentations on selected companies, comprehensive question and answer sessions, and anonymous voting to assess the viability of each proposed company. Each stock pitch included an investment thesis, competitor comparisons, and extensive data analysis to ascertain overall value—information that was also shared during their pitch to the Board. The core philosophy of the Mustang Capital cohort revolved around minimizing volatility through a diversified portfolio strategy. Guided by this objective, the students crafted an investor policy statement, committing to diversification among value, growth, and core investment strategies; and the inclusion of at least 15 companies across seven or more sectors based on Global Industry Classification Standards (GICS). To achieve this, the class delved into analyzing mega- and macroeconomic trends and conducting extensive research on potential investments. “It was the first time I’ve done such in-depth research about companies,” shares Sara B. ’27. “We had to understand things like how to predict how they might perform in the future and how their leadership affects their success.” The final result was a well-rounded investment pitch featuring 18 stocks, with each student contributing insights on at least one stock to the Finance Committee . 

Following the presentation, the Finance Committee engaged in a question and answer session and provided valuable feedback. Members of the Committee marveled at the students’ polished and well-researched pitches. Elaine Paul Seidel, Co-Chair of the Finance Committee, praised students, “Exceptional work, that was incredibly thorough and impressive. I cannot believe you are only in high school!” Committee members also offered insightful feedback on how the cohort could continue to hone future pitches, ensuring potential investors receive all the necessary information to make informed decisions. 

As students left the Board Room, high-fives were plentiful and exclamations of relief joined with congratulations sounded. Gathering with Mr. Cameron following the presentation, the students reflected on the significance of their achievement. They shared sentiments of pride and fulfillment in applying their classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios. “As a Senior, it means a lot to be part of this cohort and see how the Finance program at Marlborough has grown over the past several years,” shares Ela D. ’24. “It is really unique to Marlborough to have the opportunity to meaningfully apply what we learned in classes to the real world.” In addition to the financial skills the students gained, Georgia Z. ’25 also remarked on the confidence she gained from honing her public speaking skills and presenting to a high-stakes audience. The cohort agreed, recognizing the experience as a pivotal moment in their educational journey.

Mustang Capital's resounding success underscores the importance of hands-on learning in cultivating financial literacy and critical thinking skills. By immersing themselves in the world of investing, these students have not only honed their analytical abilities but have also embraced the values of responsible decision-making and problem-solving. “What is important to me as an instructor both of history and of finance is that our education can be theoretical and practical,” notes Mr. Cameron. “All of these students, at some point, are going to be investors in some capacity. I believe so strongly in the practicality of this type of program, especially for young women who traditionally receive less financial training than do their male counterparts.”

As Mustang Capital continues to navigate the dynamic landscape of investments, these students serve as a beacon of inspiration, showcasing the incredible potential of young minds when equipped with the tools and opportunities to flourish, no matter the discipline.

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