The Bishop’s University Williams School of Business student body has managed an equity portfolio for approximately 20 years, gaining the advantage of practical experience in equity management before graduation. Dean of the Williams School of Business, Reena Atanasiadis, praises the program for how it removes barriers for students of business.
“The demographic of portfolio managers tends to be males in their late 50s, after 20-30 years of experience. With the SEED Portfolio, students gain the experience to understand the fundamentals of investing, markets, and the role of an equity analyst, portfolio manager, and strategist before graduation.”Dean Reena Atanasiadis
Despite the makeup of many finance programs across Canada, there is a lack of diversity in professional portfolio managers that damages the environment and disadvantages students from marginalized communities.
The SEED Portfolio reflects the culture of innovation and student support at Bishop’s, empowering students to be competent and confident portfolio managers. A team of Finance, Business, and Economics students actively manage about $800,000 of Canadian equities, working with faculty advisors and alumni from the program to analyze market trends and economic forecasts and use them to base proposals for the purchase or selling of stock in the SEED Portfolio.
A smaller university doesn’t mean that students get less of an experience due to limited opportunities – in fact, it means the opposite. Despite being the largest faculty at Bishop’s, as such a small school, business students are benefited disproportionately by the program, which selects up to ten people each year out of the roughly 600 students in the Williams School of Business. Other business schools with portfolio management programs also generally select the same number of students, but from much larger business school student bodies.
The selected students take part in a two-year, six-credit course where they learn how to manage a portfolio – experience that normally one only gets in the industry as a professional. Funded by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, the SEED Portfolio allows business students the opportunity to hone their equity management skills and practices, which is work that one would normally need to spend 20 to 30 years doing in the field as opposed to gaining experience while still an undergraduate student.