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A 600-point plunge Monday of the Dow Jones industrial average had no apparent effect, bad or good, on the appetites of the 650 students, teachers and others gathered for an awards luncheon celebrating the 20th anniversary of the state's Stock Market Game and honoring its 2018-2019 winners.

Doug McMillon, chief executive officer and president of Walmart Inc. and keynote speaker at the event, said a student in the crowd one day could hold his position. Note to students: It's a job that paid McMillon $22.5 million the last fiscal year -- $1.3 million in base salary, about $15.6 million in stock awards and about $5.1 million in nonequity incentives.

McMillon made no mention of Monday's stock plunge, in which stock indexes fell more than 2 percent.

Presumably, the winning students of the 2018-19 Stock Market Game had better days with their hypothetical $100,000 stock portfolio in a contest administered each year by Economics Arkansas, a 57-year-old private, nonprofit educational group that franchises the game from the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association. While the game is available to all grades, it is played primarily by students in the fourth through 12th grades.

McMillon, a Jonesboro native, was an hourly-wage employee at a Walmart warehouse in the mid-1980s while attending the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he received a bachelor's degree in business administration. McMillon offered students a couple tips: show up early, not merely on time, and take responsibility for mistakes and correct them.

After completing his master's degree in business administration at the University of Tulsa, McMillon started full time at Wal-Mart as a buyer.

One time, while in charge of a Walmart store's bait-and-tackle department, it was his job during a presentation among Walmart buyers to tout Bait Mate, a concoction placed on lures that ostensibly would attract fish, McMillon told the crowd. Garlic was among the flavors, he recalled.

McMillon said he was nervous for his presentation, particularly with Walmart founder Sam Walton in the room. Walton, he said, could sense his nervousness. McMillon said Walton put a hand on his shoulder afterwards and said, "That's all well and good, son, but what makes you think fish can smell?"

McMillon encouraged the students -- mainly 4th-graders through high school seniors -- to consider business as a career. "Business has the potential and, in many cases does a lot of good," he said, especially in the communities they serve. Walmart, he said, has a mission to do better in education, the environment and other issues.

More than 15,000 students participated in the Stock Market Game this year, the 90th anniversary of Wall Street's famous crash in 1929. Economics Arkansas also instructs teachers in grades K-12 on how to incorporate principles of economics and personal finance into classroom curriculum. It awarded more than $22,000 in scholarships this year with donations from sponsors.

A list of first- and second-place winners for all the game's divisions is at https://tinyurl.com/y6b3xslc.

Business on 05/14/2019

Print Headline: Walmart's McMillon schools 650 mostly pupils in stock game

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