Ross Benes

Ross Benes

May 2013 — May grad Ross Benes invested $10,000 in early March and ended with holdings worth $12,177.84 at market close on April 26.
 
His prize for that 21.9 percent return? A University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumni cap and pride that he took first place in the investing contest in the college’s business and economic reporting and writing course this spring.

Benes was playing with virtual money but he gained a wealth of information in a powerful hands-on learning experience in Professor Joseph Weber’s course.
 
Weber, an associate professor of journalism, created the hypothetical game so students could learn economic and financial concepts they’ll use, perhaps for the rest of their lives.
 
“The competitive gameplay created excitement,” Weber said. “But the educational experience delivered the biggest impact.”
 
Benes will take his knowledge to Crain’s Detroit Business. He accepted a six-month internship where he’ll write stories about corporate strategy, economics, earnings, personality profiles and more.
 
Benes’ mock portfolio initially consisted of Netflix, Google, Anheuser-Busch InBev, GE and the New York Times. Midway through the contest, students were able to trade their stocks and make real choices. Benes dumped everything but the New York Times and Netflix, which proved to be his biggest gainer.

Benes is a William H. Thompson and McNair scholar from Brainard, Neb. The McNair Scholars program aims to increase underrepresented students in PhD programs.He majored in news-ed, economics and psychology. Benes pursues a rather unusual hobby: dumpster diving.
 
Weber spent 22 years reporting and writing for BusinessWeek before joining the College of Journalism and Mass Communications in 2009. He holds an Excellence in Financial Journalism Award from the New York State Society of CPAs, as well as two Peter Lisagor Awards from the Headline Club of Chicago.