Stevie Rudak | December 04, 2023

Investment Guru Propels Students to the Top

Finance professor consistently guides students to best returns in worldwide investment competition.

Finance Professor, Steven Barber, has guided five students to top 25 finishes in the 10-week ETF Global Portfolio Challenge, earning them invitations to the prestigious ETP (Exchange Traded Products) Forum in New York City—an annual event attended by financial professionals.

“If you’re into modern stock market knowledge, come to Brockport and work with Professor Barber,” said accounting and finance major, Gerard Zukoski (ranked #5). “For the past six to seven years, he’s consistently had students finish in the top 25, essentially paving the way for us to do the same.”

“If you’re into modern stock market knowledge, come to Brockport and work with Professor Barber.”
Gerard Zukoski

Barber first recruited students to take part in the competition in 2017 while working at St. John Fisher. His mentorship helped his students make history, becoming the first school ever to secure the top five spots. He continued to assist students in the annual competition, leading to consistent success placing in the top 25 which includes a first place finish last year.

At the beginning of the fall semester, Barber established the “Finance Club,” and introduced club members to the ETF Global Portfolio Challenge—a global simulated investment competition that enabled them to practice portfolio management and compete against students from over 500 colleges and universities to have the best-performing portfolio. Steven Barber analyzing the stock market with Gerard Zukoski at Finance Club.

Steven Barber mentoring Gerard Zukoski at Finance Club Steven Barber mentoring Gerard Zukoski at Finance Club

“If you finish in the top 25, you get invited to this massive networking event in New York City, the ETP Forum,” said Zukoski. “Working on Wall Street is the dream, and that’s the goal. It’s like the end all, be all.”

Barber, a Cornell University graduate, began his finance career on Wall Street, contributing to boutique investment banking and major broker-deals. After earning his master’s and Ph.D. degrees at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), he shifted to teaching and researching sustainable finance.

“The market is like a flowing river. I guide students to show them how wonderful the river is.”
Steven Barber

“The market is like a flowing river,” said Barber. “I guide students to show them how wonderful the river is. Some dip their toes in the water. Others attempt to swim across, while some like to catch fish. Nevertheless, the river will persist. It existed before them and will be there after them, so it’s okay to step out of the water. You must have faith it will always be there.”

As the Finance Club’s Advisor, students frequently asked Barber for guidance on their trading decisions throughout the investment competition.

Headshot of Professor Steven Barber

Steven Barber

“My students ask me, ‘What should I do with this stock? Should I sell it?’ I ask them, ‘Would you buy it today if you didn’t, have it? Unless you would buy it today, get out of it immediately,” said Barber. “Think with that ideology. That’s the secret to success.”

Beyond his ideology, Barber uses financial market analysis platforms to provide his students with real-time information on current and past performance trends in the stock market, facilitating meaningful discussions.

“For those keen on trading and making money, I highly recommend learning from him,” said Zukoski. “What I’m learning now is exactly what I wanted to do with my degree.”