Teaching finance students real investment decision-making skills


The University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Business School has launched a new unit designed to provide students with the tools to make intelligent financial investment decisions using real data and real money. 

The Student Managed Enterprise Investment Fund (SMEIF) unit aims to provide exceptional undergraduate and post-graduate finance students the opportunity to access WA’s largest student-run investment fund, the Black Swan Investment Fund.

“With an investment of $300,000 from the university, students will gain hands-on experience by managing real money in a real-world investment setting,” says UWA Business School Professor of Finance Professor Lee Smales.

“They’ll conduct equity research using leading financial software platforms, such as Bloomberg Professional and LSEG Workspace, that are adopted by professional investors and traders.

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“These platforms are supported by UWA Business School’s state-of-the-art Rosemarie Nathanson Financial Markets Trading Room.”

Based on their analysis, students will prepare an investment proposal in groups, which they would then pitch to an Investment Committee composed of leading finance practitioners for feedback.

Successful proposals would result in a total capital investment of $50,000 each semester.

“This unit, which is unique among WA universities, will provide high-achieving and passionate finance students with an unmatched practical experience, bridging the gap between university and the workforce more than ever before,” Professor Smales says.

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“It will give them a deeper understanding of investment decision-making and portfolio management concepts, enhanced by interactions with a number of market practitioners, equipping the next wave of investment professionals and financiers with practical, career relevant skills.”

The units will be available to undergraduate students from Semester 2, 2024. Post-graduates can also explore available study options.

Innovative learning approach

Second-year Master of Applied Finance student Olga Letucheva describes the innovative learning approach from industry practitioners as a great way to master the skills and gain the experience needed to boost her career prospects

“I feel it’s crucial to receive practitioner feedback on our investment proposal as it encourages students to think critically about their work and identify areas for improvement,” Ms Letucheva says.

“For me, working with practitioners is the equivalent to receiving the latest information, which is today’s most precious resource as they always pay attention to the hidden details inaccessible to others outside the industry and most critical to business decision-making.”

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