So ICONic! Investment club provides stock market experience for NAIT finance students

by | Mar 9, 2023 | Arts & Life

As a business student at NAIT, I often wonder if what I learn will have real life applications to help me find a job or even start a business. Business is a competitive field and many students need a little spice to stand out. The Investment Club of NAIT (ICON) could be the spice students need. JR Shaw School of Business’ student-led investment fund was established in 2016 by finance students and NAIT faculty. ICON uses real money to invest in publicly listed stocks on NAIT’s behalf. This real-world experience in handling money proves invaluable for students interested in a finance career.

For NAIT students looking forward to banking or corporate finance careers, ICON is a great place to start. Not only does it provide students tangible experiences of investing in the stock market, but it also looks really good on a resume. It is a student-integrated learning experience that helps NAIT finance students like ICON’s Portfolio Manager, Matheus Matsushima, put what their instructors are talking about to the test. 

“Being a part of ICON has helped me gain application and team-building skills. It has helped me become a better leader, improve allocation and organization of duties for maximum productivity, which are all highly important skills, not only for work but for life,” said Matsushima.

With dedicated portfolio managers like Matsushima, ICON’s long term objectives are, as stated on NAIT’s website, “to exceed the stated portfolio benchmark … and to invest in several assets across multiple asset classes and risk levels, with an initial all-equity Canadian focus.” 

The ICON portfolio is divided into six sectors led by portfolio managers and supported by analysts. After careful evaluation processes taught in finance courses, ICON members practice investing in stocks on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Scotiabank is just one example of a public stock ICON has invested in. During their weekly meetings, the club pitches stocks then decides if they should move forward with purchasing. Their annual report comes out in Spring 2023, and provides a baseline for the analysts to determine if their goals are being met. They always hold long positions on their stock as it is a long-term investment fund.

ICON uses the value investing approach, which determines the intrinsic value of the company. This fundamental investing approach is the same one used by billionaires like Warren Buffet and other renowned investment funds like JP Morgan. 

ICON also boasts a strong base of alumni that helps with networking. Building long-lasting connections with industry professionals and fellow colleagues makes getting a job in finance after graduation easier. With connections in the finance world, ICON helps students boost their career by improving  eligibility for positions that might not be available to people without the same experience. It’s an opportunity to work within asset management and understand the ins and outs of investing before even finishing school.

Business students can get involved in ICON after their third year at NAIT. Since ICON is an investment fund, a concentration in finance is essential. A prerequisite to join is the Investments course or Securities Valuation course in finance, and a good GPA will increase your chances. After getting through the initial selection process, Matsushima interviews students to figure out if they meet the rest of the criteria. It helps to have prior knowledge of market trends or publicly listed companies. Students must be willing to commit to the fund for two years. Recruitment cycles are in September and December, so gear up for the Fall 2023 semester if you want to be on the ICON team.

ICON not only builds your standing in finance, but it also builds your resume through other extra-curricular activities like networking events, volunteer activities and contributions to the media. To find out more about ICON, hop on your NAIT student portal—you could even begin your finance networking journey by meeting with some of the members!

Cover via NAIT

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