Robert's Story

Support students like Robert!
Robert Blankenship

Name: Robert Blankenship
College: College of Business and Economics
Majors: Finance and Marketing
Clubs/Activities: Student Managed Investment Portfolio Organization (SMIPO)
Hometown: Hurt, Virginia

Why Radford?
Fewer than 5 percent of business schools in the world have earned accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and Radford’s College of Business and Economics (COBE) is one of them. Coming to Radford I knew that I would be learning in one of the very best business schools in the nation. Beyond that, having the opportunity to participate in the Student Managed Investment Portfolio Organization (SMIPO)*, a student organization that manages funds for Radford University Foundation’s endowment, has provided me real-world experience that will help jumpstart a successful career after graduation.

*SMIPO began with an original investment of $100,000 in 2002 from the Radford University Foundation endowment and, with additional infusions, now manages approximately $1.8 million.

What is your favorite Radford University memory?
The SMIPO trip to Chicago for the Student Managed Investment Fund Consortium (SMIFC) Conference. SMIPO allows students to gain real-world investment and portfolio management experience, and last fall, we traveled to the SMIFC Conference to network with our peers at other institutions, learn best practices in investment management and hear from industry leaders. It was an eye-opening experience and one that I will never forget!

Who is your favorite professor?
Abhay Kaushik. In my opinion, he is one of the best professors in COBE. He is not only extremely knowledgeable, but he also genuinely cares about his students. I have gone to his office many times to discuss school-related topics and we end up talking about all sorts of things for hours. He is one of the most helpful and interesting professors I have met.

How has donor support helped you as a student?
Thanks to donor support, I have benefited from the SMIPO scholarship, but scholarship support is not the only way in which donors can help students. Private support has also enhanced my Radford experience though SMIPO. Without private support, we would not have been able to afford the SMIFC Conference I mentioned above or the upcoming trip to the Global Asset Management Education (G.A.M.E.) Forum, which is the largest student-run financial conference in the world. While there, we will discuss and debate financial best practices with world-renowned industry leaders and compete against fellow undergraduate programs. In 2016, we earned the top fund ranking for the Value Fund Category — Undergraduate Division, and we hope to win again this spring!

Do you have a message for donors and prospective donors?
Donor support provides students many opportunities they otherwise would not be able to experience. The support that I have received has been vital to my success at Radford University and to my preparation for life after graduation. To donors, I would like to say: Thank you. I hope you understand the power of your donation and the impact it has on students like me. To prospective donors, please know that one donation can make a meaningful difference for your fellow Highlanders.