Reflecting on a successful journey in SIF with Isaac W.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022
by School of Accounting and Finance

The Student Investment Fund (SIF) is where students receive hands-on training in investment management and work together to manage a portfolio of Canadian and American equities, with the guidance from faculty members and industry professionals. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of this student-led initiative this year, we spoke to Isaac W. (4B AFM student) who was the chief executive officer (CEO) in the Fall 2021 term, about his experience being a part of the fund during multiple study terms.

What was your favourite part of being in the SIF?

Photo of Isaac
There are three things that I cherish most from my time participating and leading the SIF. It’s a great opportunity to meet like-minded people – peers that are ambitious about pursuing awesome opportunities and are constantly driving towards doing better. The SIF is also a great opportunity for me to interact and work with the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF)’s faculty members as well as connect with alumni and industry mentors. Lastly, the SIF allowed me to lead and transform the student organization, ultimately leading to better recruiting and education outcomes for future students.

What are some skills you’ve gained from being in the SIF? What skills did you bring from your courses to use in participating and leading the Fund?

The skills I’ve gained from SIF fall into three buckets:

  1. Technical: Through numerous holdings updates and stock pitches, I’ve had the opportunity to hone my financial modelling, slide formatting and research skills.
  2. Presentation: The toughest, and most rewarding part of SIF is answering questions about your stock pitch from the professors in an educated and concise manner, which is an experience that is hard to replicate in any other setting. Effective communication, written or verbal, is so important, especially in high stakes situations like board meetings. Getting grilled about my stock pitches by the professors in the classroom not only prepared me to answer tough questions from my managing directors, but to answer in a clear, concise, and educated manner that differentiated me as an intern
  3. Leadership: Having served as director of education in Spring 2020 and CEO in Fall 2021, I’ve had the opportunity to hone my organizational, leadership and teamwork skills, especially with managing up and down, and effecting change in organizations that I’m involved with.

Going into banking/finance internships with the aforementioned skills was a huge differentiator and provided a strong advantage as I was able to hit the ground running on day one.

What are you most proud of from being in the SIF?

There are two things I’m extremely proud of from being in the SIF. First, I’m extremely proud of the network that I’ve been able to build through my involvement, ranging from recent alumni to very senior industry executives. This is a testament to what giving an organization 110% and focusing on bettering an entire organization (versus just yourself) can do.

Second, I’m very proud to see the initiatives that Kyson V. (4B AFM student) and I suggested during our 3A term come to fruition and sustain term-over-term since the Spring 2020 term. These suggestions include the bootcamp and outreach activities. I was a big believer that these initiatives would not only improve educational outcomes for SIF students, but also recruiting outcomes, and I’m so proud to see that my hypothesis has been validated.

Lastly, over the past decade, many have worked to improve the SIF and introduce initiatives that expands the University of Waterloo’s footprint in the finance industry. I am amazed to see that this passion has spread to current students, alums, and industry professionals. I’m excited to see what the future holds for the next decade of the SIF!