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Real money, real experience

Alumni donations enable students to invest real money in capital markets

Teaching and Learning

By Susan White

Memorial University students will now have the opportunity to use real money to gain investment experience in financial markets, thanks to generous alumni donations, amounting to $150,000.

Left to right: Dr. Isabelle Dostaler, Luke O'Brien and Dr. Erin Oldford in the White Trading Lab at the Faculty of Business Administration.
Left to right: Dr. Isabelle Dostaler, Luke O’Brien and Dr. Erin Oldford in the White Trading Lab at the Faculty of Business Administration.

Brad White (B. Comm. ’91), co-founder, partner and chair of EdgeHill Partners in Toronto, ON, has donated $100,000 to the Faculty of Business Administration to create a student-managed investment fund that will be known as The Fund.

Luke O’Brien (B. Comm. (Co-op.) ’97), vice-president, portfolio manager and wealth advisor at RBC Dominion Securities Inc. in St. John’s, has also donated $50,000.

‘Body of talent’

“To me this is another very necessary leg of the stool for securities analysis and asset management at Memorial’s business faculty,” said Mr. White.

“We have the body of talent, both student and faculty. We have the trading lab; and The Fund is a necessity to stay ahead in this competitive field, providing students with real experience and practical skills.”

Mr. White previously made a significant donation that enabled the business faculty to create the White Trading Lab, a state-of-the-art facility that features Bloomberg terminals and technology and enables users to interact with the global financial community in real time. The Fund will be housed in the White Trading Lab and fund members will learn to use the Bloomberg technologies.

“It’s our hope these initial donations will attract other donors, which will provide our students with further opportunities to develop their investment skills.” Dr. Isabelle Dostaler 

Mr. O’Brien says his donation is a way of giving back to, and investing in, Memorial students.

“I gained knowledge from a stock market simulation exercise that I completed as part of an investments course at Memorial that I still benefit from today,” said Mr. O’Brien.

“By managing an actual portfolio, a select number of current students will be able to take that experience to a higher level, and hopefully generate a positive return on the fund that will benefit future students.”

Real investment decisions

The Fund will allow Memorial students to invest real money in equity and bond markets. By filling such roles as portfolio manager, sector manager and analyst, students will gain experience related to researching investment opportunities, producing security research reports and evaluating portfolio performance, making real investment decisions with real money.

Faculty advisors and a team of industry professionals will guide students in their investment activities and provide further learning opportunities through workshops and mentorship.

The Fund is now recruiting its first cohort.  Undergraduate and graduate students from all faculties and schools at Memorial may apply to participate.

Next generation of financial leaders

Dr. Isabelle Dostaler, dean of Memorial’s business faculty, says The Fund will help Memorial students to become marketable job candidates and build careers in the finance industry.

“We’re grateful for these important donations of seed funding from Mr. White and Mr. O’Brien, and we appreciate their important investment in our students,” said Dr. Dostaler.

“It’s our hope these initial donations will attract other donors, which will provide our students with further opportunities to develop their investment skills. Together, we can support the next generation of financial leaders.”

Dr. Erin Oldford, assistant professor of finance at the business faculty and The Fund’s faculty advisor, says the student benefits associated with similar funds at other post-secondary institutions are well documented.

“In addition to gaining valuable, applicable skills related to finance, members of The Fund will also learn about teamwork, research, public speaking and critical analysis,” she said.

“Participation in a student-managed investment fund is anecdotally considered to be a prerequisite for entry-level positions in finance firms, so The Fund will go a long way towards preparing Memorial students to take that next step in their careers after graduation.”

For more information about The Fund, click here.

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