May 2, 2023Print | PDF
Are you looking for a graduate program that offers real-world experience in finance? Look no further than the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics’ Master of Finance (MFin) program at Wilfrid Laurier University, which includes a unique opportunity to work with the Laurier Graduate Student Investment Fund (LGSIF).
As one of Canada's top finance programs, the Lazaridis MFin program offers rigorous training in financial theory and practice. But what sets it apart is its emphasis on hands-on learning through the LGSIF. This student-run fund manages real money in the stock market, allowing students to apply what they've learned in the classroom to real-world investing.
The LGSIF also offers students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in portfolio management, equity research, and investment strategy. They work closely with industry professionals and academic advisors to develop investment ideas and execute trades, all while learning the ins and outs of the finance industry.
Students are selected to join LGSIF as analysts or portfolio managers and receive training to manage the fund under the supervision of faculty and industry professionals. Founded in 2016 by a group of six Master of Finance students, LGSIF receives additional support from faculty and alumni advisory boards.
What about the results? The LGSIF has been incredibly successful, consistently outperforming the market and delivering impressive returns. And it's not just luck – the LGSIF's investment strategy is based on a combination of fundamental analysis, technical analysis, and a healthy dose of intuition.
LGSIF is a competitive course offering, requiring students to apply for their role and demonstrate an understanding of the financial markets and equity analysis. So, if you're looking for a graduate program that offers more than just theory, the Lazaridis MFin and the LGSIF are definitely worth considering. With its emphasis on practical experience and real-world investing, this program is the perfect launching pad for a career in finance.
We spoke with 2022/23 LGSIF members, Alex Hendershot, Nimesh Singh, Minzhao Wu and Shawn Xiang to learn more about their experience with the fund this past year.
Hometown: Waterloo, Ontario
Previous Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Wilfrid Laurier University
Plans after Graduation: Investment banking or private equity
Why Lazaridis MFin: Strong culture, small class sizes, hands on teaching, great city.
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Previous Education: Bachelor of Business Administration; CFA Level 3 Candidate
Plans after Graduation: Work in investment banking or investment management
Why Lazaridis MFin: Co-op opportunity to build Canadian experience; LGSIF, Course structure with focus on project applications and creating solutions rather than only being theory-focused.
Hometown: Shunde, China
Previous Education: Bachelor of Arts in Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Plans after Graduation: Pursue a finance job in Canada
Why Lazaridis MFin: Great program structure with co-op program and LGSIF.
Previous Education: Master of Science in Aviation Finance, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Bachelor of Science in Transportation Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Plans after Graduation: Pursue a career as an investment analyst in captial market positions
Why Lazaridis MFin: The MFin program is very practical by combining theoretical knowledge from class with co-op work experience.
Shawn - I haven't been directly exposed to equity research area before getting into this team and LGSIF is a wonderful chance for students like me to gain hands-on experience on stock pitch, valuations and due diligence. I choose to be part of the LGSIF team also because I know I will be guided by financial professionals and work with excellent peers, it will be a perfect learning opportunity.
Nimesh - LGSIF provided an opportunity to manage a student run portfolio. It gave me exposure to work independently and figure out the right asset allocation, security selection for the portfolio. I worked as a Portfolio Manager at LGSIF for the first semester and I am proud to be a member of it. I can vouch for the fact that, under the guidance of Tony and Andre, we have all had an immense learning experience.
Shawn – Everything I learned from courses provided during my degree can be applied to what we did for LGSIF, from financial modeling to investment strategies. LGSIF experience brought me more confidence to deal with complex financial problems in the real world.
Nimesh - As a finance graduate student, it is an opportunity that not only brings attention to your resume from employers, but also helps in building the skills and confidence for researching, modeling and presentation.
Alex - It has complimented my education well as it has allowed me to utilize the theory learned in class in real-time. LGSIF gave me meaningful practice and feedback to understand how the concepts learned in class fit into the broader picture of investing.
Minzhao - LGSIF provides opportunities for hands-on experience in investment. Working in LGSIF also enhanced my understanding of financial markets and economic trends, which will be beneficial for pursuing my future studies and career.
Shawn - I worked as an Equity Analyst to conduct due diligence, built pro-forma financial statements and valuation models on stocks, and presented investment proposals to portfolio managers, faculty advisors and industry members at weekly briefings.
Alex – As a Portfolio Manager, I managed the asset allocation of the portfolio, delivered macroeconomic outlooks, conducted sector and stock specific research, and managed analysts.
Alex - It has helped me tremendously with my professionalism, presentation skills, critical thinking, and collaboration. LGSIF does an excellent job of simulating what it is like to be on the job pitching investment ideas.
Nimesh - During my first co-op interview, I got a lot of questions with respect to LGSIF and the stocks that we are pitching and analysing. People were really interested to understand your investment philosophy and hear your stock pitches. As an international student, I was just gaining exposure to the North American markets and my knowledge of companies was more limited. However, now, I am much more confident to deal with these questions when they turn up for future co-op and career opportunities.
Alex – I got to work with very smart peers that pushed me to clarify my analysis and build strong investment theses.
Minzhou - Working with LGSIF team was an exciting and dynamic experience. As part of the team, I worked alongside professionals with diverse backgrounds and skillsets. Although we have other commitments, peers I worked with showed professionalism. Special thanks to my PM colleagues – Alex and Nimesh - and EA colleagues – Xiaotian and Yaoxu.
Shawn - We worked in several different groups, each responsible for covering three or four industries. Every week we provided an industry update to the class and discussed macroeconomics and industry changese. Moreover, we conducted valuations on stocks and presented stock pitches on a two-week basis.
Besides regular topics, we also had guest speakers, usually Laurier alumni, who shared about what they do in practice and how they present a stock pitch.
Minzhou - The first couple portfolio updates we didn’t know what we are doing, but as we progressed, we found the appropriate way to present. And it is certainly fortunate to outperform the S&P 500 during our holding period.
Shawn - Go for it. Both MFin program and LGSIF is a great chance for anyone who wants to start a career in finance. By being proactive and getting out of your comfort zone, you will quickly learn and build a career from there.
Alex - LGSIF has been the highlight of the program thus far and is a must take if you are in MFin. LGSIF gives you the opportunity to apply the concepts learned in class in a competitive yet safe environment where your analysis can be put to the test. It has helped me immensely on the job.
To learn more about LGSIF and previous years’ members, visit us here.