A University of Saskatchewan student-run portfolio in the Edwards School of Business has recently reached a milestone value of nearly $1.4 million, an impressive feat for the college.
Established in 2012, the George S. Dembroski Student Management Trust Portfolio continues to be fostered by professor George Tannous. As a three-credit course spanning over two semesters, the student-run portfolio seeks to put textbook knowledge into practical application by working with real money and market conditions.
The portfolio is not just a class, but also includes various structures such as a governing board which oversees the parameters of the trust and is responsible for determining the candidates who are most deserving of the scholarship.
On Oct. 28, Tannous spoke to students, faculty and alumni in the department to celebrate the success of the portfolio.
“We’ve worked very hard to get where we are right now,” Tannous said. “We are doing a really good job — the students and everyone involved with this class.”
The portfolio has received approximately $1 million in donations, with George S. Dembroski being the primary donor. With many years spent in the field of investing and management, Dembroski sees the practical value for students to work towards deriving returns and thereby gaining real-life experience.
“What I wanted was to create interest in investment business and creating portfolio management,” Dembroski said. “Your first loss is always your best loss. You have to start somewhere.”
In addition to the financial success of the portfolio, the amount of students enrolled in the program is higher than any other portfolio in universities across Canada. While other portfolio programs in Canadian universities are highly selective in their criteria for accepting applicants, the student management portfolio trust on the U of S campus attempts to be inclusive of as many students who want to join the class.
Moreover, while a portion of the trust is invested, a large portion goes towards scholarships for Edwards School of Business students.
Daphne Taras, dean of the Edwards School of Business, emphasizes the importance of the project and its promotion of student networking and engagement in a professional setting.
“There are students on the governance board, students in the class and students involved in voting for the students that receive scholarships from the student management portfolio trust. At every single level, there are students involved,” Taras said.
Callan Kimber, fourth-year finance student, is in his second year of the program and believes that this experience not only helps to conceptualize financial knowledge into tangible means, but it also improves a skill set needed for graduate students to succeed in a workplace setting.
“It’s about applying knowledge that you learn in class in a real-world setting, before you get into the real-world setting,” Kimber said. “We get experience handling a real portfolio with real cash. We’re trying to get returns and we have to invest specific amounts to specific things as a client would want you to.”
The initial amount of the trust was $300,000 and it opened trading at $500,000. With the program only in its fourth year of running, growth has been unprecedented. Excluding donations, the success of the students has produced $395,000 in returns.
“This milestone is significant because it is an attribute of success to the program in general,” Kimber said.
Considering the success of the portfolio within such a short timespan, students such as Kimber recognize the significance of personal development through this interactive educational setting.
“It’s about growing as a person and growing your knowledge and succeeding in what you want to do.”