A group of Tennessee Tech University business students has outperformed Wall Street and other university groups to win TVA's Investment Challenge in 2010. By posting a 34.67 percent return, the TTU students beat the S&P 500 return by more than 19 percentage points, and they topped the average return for competitors by almost 17 percentage points. Since the challenge's inception in 1998, Tennessee Tech students have won the challenge four times-1998, 1999, 2007 and 2010-and have come in second twice. The best performing stocks for TTU students included Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Cree. TTU's performance netted its College of Business a cash prize of about $12,200.
In TTU's program, students recommend and discuss potential purchases. After individual research by each member, the class votes whether to purchase the stock.Undergraduate and graduate on-campus students made up the investment team. In 1998, TVA allocated $1.9 million from its Nuclear Decommissioning Fund to initiate the Investment Challenge. Originally, 19 universities received investment funds of $100,000 apiece. The program has expanded to include 24 universities, and the funds total approximately $10 million. Participating universities include Middle Tennessee State University, Austin Peay State University and Tennessee State University as well as the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, University of Mississippi and University of Kentucky.