Economics major Mark Suleiman came to UNL to major in premed biology. After taking a few classes at the College of Business Administration it turned out that microeconomics had more appeal to Suleiman than microbiology. The appeal Suleiman found at CBA eventually helped him discover his true passion by creating a real world business endeavor here at UNL.
“You learn here at CBA from professors that have been there,” said Suleiman. “CBA Professors have actually done real world implementation of textbook theory.”
It didn’t take Suleiman long to start implementing his own business vision. Although majoring in economics, Suleiman also had a strong interest in the financial markets. That interest led him to create the Shark Fund -- an investment club for UNL students that Suleiman coordinates.
“The primary reason the Shark Fund was created was for education. I thought, ‘I’m at an educational institution here at UNL so let’s try it.’”
Suleiman’s interest in the financial markets started in high school. He won a trip to the CNBC studios in New Jersey by participating in a contest that involved submitting a stock portfolio and an analysis of why CNBC’s Mad Money host Jim Cramer should look at it.
“I did an analysis of The Buckle, a great company from Kearney, and I ended up getting invited to the show.”
That experience helped motivate Suleiman to eventually launch the Shark Fund which he started as a New Year’s resolution in 2009.
“I did some research and found that the SEC provides an investment platform called the investment club method. It’s really an old fashioned version of peer pressure based investing where you, me, and ten of our friends get together and pool our resources. With our collective knowledge in theory we beat Warren Buffett and people like that.”
He started taking other people into the club after about four months when the fund doubled. Suleiman quickly learned that the job of running an investment fund was more than just following the markets.
“It’s kind of challenging especially when you have to keep up with all the regulations that are changing in a post-Madoff world. I understand that and UNL does a great job of staying on top of that with students.”
Suleiman has found that many students that invest with the Shark Club are mainly interested in short term gains.
“Some people got in the fund and it doubled and they road out the gains. They cashed out around spring break and for all I know took trips to tropical destinations. Then students come back around in the fall semester and start again. It can be a terrible revolving door.
“My priority is to make money and take care of the fund but I learn that people have different priorities. I try to make sure now that membership in the Shark Fund is a lot more studied and that people are joining in on a long term investment.”
Suleiman also sees a long term investment being made by students attending the College of Business Administration. His experiences with the College as a whole have made an impression on him.
“I have tremendous respect for Dean Plowman and her plan of change. Dean Plowman's greatest influence on CBA is her willingness to allow students to influence the future of CBA. Students who want to make a positive contribution to the future of CBA have the ability to do so.”
Suleiman plans on graduating from UNL this summer. With the initiative Suleiman has made managing the Shark Fund, his post-graduation plans have already been set in motion.