BRISTOL, RI -- With a 36.17 percent return on the investments managed during calendar year 2013, Chris Pena, a Roger Williams University Class of 2013 graduate from Pepperell, and 20 fellow student fund managers from the Center for Advanced Financial Education at the University's Mario J. Gabelli School of Business became national champions not once, but twice, last month.

In late March, four students representing the CAFE program placed first in the undergraduate core investment strategy category of the student-managed portfolio competition at the Quinnipiac Global Asset Management Education IV Forum held in New York City.

A week later, two students from CAFE grabbed top honors (along with the Dragon Fund at Drexel University) in the same category at RISE 2014, the University of Dayton's 14th annual student portfolio competition.

The two events represent the pinnacle for the estimated 300 programs nationwide that allow students to make investment decisions with real money. The competitive field is hardly a pushover -- the GAME Forum hosted more than 1,000 students from 131 universities in 21 countries; RISE 2014 drew a similar pool of student investment managers from across the globe.