The Quakers may have won the men's Ivy League basketball title, but one of the most successful teams at Penn this year will never earn accolades for athletic prowess. Quaker Holdings is a student investment club started in 1998 by junior Michael Schostak and senior Aaron Fidler, two enterprising Whartonites who refused to wait until graduation to start earning their fortunes. While playing football at home in Detroit over the summer, the two decided to gather friends, pool some money and take on the stock market with their combined knowledge. "But the main focus here is not earning money," explains Schostak, the current chairman of the club. "Our main purposes are encouraging prudent investment and educating our members. None of us are Wall Street wizards, and we're not here to make a quick buck." True enough. But despite the lack of experience, Quaker Holdings has been at the top of its league. With an initial stake of $500 each, the 12 founding members have already doubled their shares. They have consistently outperformed the S&P; 500 and other popular stock indices. And with the current growth of the stock market, the future looks even brighter. The secret to their success? For one, the investors are careful in their stock selections. Their portfolio, which usually contains seven to 10 stocks, has featured high-profile stocks like Motorola, The Gap and IBM. "We're aggressive, but not stupid. We built a solid portfolio with stable stocks. We're looking to invest in stocks that have a significant growth potential. More importantly, we have entrepreneurial, self-motivated, ambitious members," Schostak notes. Indeed, Quaker Holdings is defined by its members. The 18 investors are more diverse than one would expect: They're not all from Wharton. The team benefits because members specialize in areas that best fit their skills. "The engineers are much more interested in technology and they do the research on high-tech companies like Motorola. We have a pre-med that does the research on biotech stocks. And, of course, the Wharton guys use all their knowledge of accounting and finance," Schostak says. The team is thoroughly committed to learning about the financial world, and this independence allows for a more educational experience. In addition, Quaker Holdings is strengthened by its well-organized structure. The Executive Board, composed of several officers who handle the specific responsibilities assigned to them in the club's constitution, provides leadership. The club also plans to change the structure of the Executive Board to encourage more participation and better distribute responsibilities. Quaker Holdings will be headed next year by Sam Kaplan and Josh Luks, both currently Wharton sophomores. The club plans on recruiting new members to replace the eight seniors who are leaving this year, but does not want to expand too much and take on the proportions of the Penn Investment Alliance, a sprawling organization with nearly 100 members. Luks' goals for Quaker Holdings exemplifies the ambitious nature of the club. "We'd like to create a much bigger presence on campus by providing things that other clubs cannot. We want people who are serious about investing, who want to play a significant role in an active environment."Comments powered by Disqus
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