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Managing $8 million in real assets

UNB’s Student Investment Fund gives students the chance to handle $8 million in real assets – and the pressure that comes with it

Tuan Bui is one of eight students responsible for $8 million dollars.

Bui is part of UNB’s Student Investment Fund, a program that mirrors working at an investment firm by teaching students how to handle real assets.

“There’s certainly some pressure to it, which is what you have to face in the real world anyway. You’re dealing with money and you need to make sure that your decision makes sense,” he said.

In 1998, the New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation (NBIMC) loaned the university $1 million to teach business students how to invest.

Since then, the program has grown to a value of $8 million, making it the largest undergraduate-run investment program of its kind in Canada.

Giving students the skills to make decisions on their own

The eight students currently running the fund are responsible for researching and analyzing a particular sector before jointly deciding on investments.

The program is offered to fourth-year bachelor of business administration students and second-year master of business administration students. It follows the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) curriculum and at the end of the year students take their CFA Level I exam.

The class meets for a minimum of six hours a week, but often their meetings go beyond that time frame when the group is discussing a big decision.

Bui considers the course a part-time job.

“If I had to quantify it, I would say it’s about 90 per cent self-study, and (program director) Glenn Cleland is there to guide you in the right direction, but you have to find the way yourself,” Bui said.

“I think that’s a really healthy environment because it stimulates your creativity and makes you make the decisions on your own. Those skills are very important when you get out there.”

The largest undergraduate student-managed fund in Canada

Liz Lemon-Mitchell, director of communications and operations for the Faculty of Management, said the students who run the fund are the best of the best.

An advisory committee of 33 professionals and professors guide the students to help them make thoughtful and sensible decisions with the money, Lemon-Mitchell said.

“It simulates a real investment firm,” Lemon-Mitchell said. “It’s intense but they love it. It’s the largest program of its kind, a student-managed fund in Canada.”

Each year, the students running the fund take a trip to Bay Street in Toronto, along with Calgary and Edmonton, to get a taste of the daily lives of real investors.

While students are learning the techniques and research involved in the investment sector, the program provides additional opportunities that help graduates stand out to potential employers.

And Bui will tell you that in today’s competitive job market, showing passion and preparation can make all the difference.

“In the screening process. You need something to catch their attention and the program is a really good way to do that.”

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