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For Jennifer Liu, a BCom student in her final year of Sauder’s Portfolio Management Foundation (PMF) program, the school’s Bloomberg terminals are an important gateway from the classroom to real-world markets.

She needs to track the latest market news, as she and her peers manage a $7.3 million endowment that has a real impact on funding for teaching and research at the school.

“We have a lot of information right at our fingertips now,” Liu says. “Through the PMF, I’ve learned to connect what I read in annual reports to what’s going on in the news in order to make the wisest investment decisions.”

And being both a student and a fund manager is paying dividends for her career: after completing internships in New York and Toronto the past two summers, Liu will be back in Manhattan next year with Goldman Sachs, who hired her to start as soon as she graduates next spring.

PMF students are now even more prepared for international success thanks to a $200,000 donation from Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd. that is funding the new Leith Wheeler Investment Research Lab fitted with Bloomberg terminals. This adds to the machines already available in the Wayne Deans Investment Analysis Centre.

Professor Robert Heinkel, who leads the PMF program, says the new Bloomberg terminals will be vital to the success of his students.

“You can’t function in the finance business without them,” he says.

He’s pleased the new lab will be adding to the suite of advantages PMF students hold, including direct access to industry professionals as mentors and the hands-on experience of managing the PMF Endowment Fund.

“We’re providing students with accountability for making decisions that are impacting an extremely large portfolio. It’s career-altering, and it really shows when they interview with global firms,” he says.

Jim Gilliland, President & CEO, Head of Fixed Income at Leith Wheeler, is a graduate of Sauder’s BCom program, and says there are numerous partners at the firm who also graduated from the school. It’s not their first time investing in Sauder’s students, as Leith Wheeler has since 2012 been supporting awards with the school’s Ch’nook Aboriginal Management Program.

“We’ve all felt that due to our Sauder education we’ve had some great opportunities and this was an ideal way to give back to the next generation of graduates,” says Gilliland, who is also incoming chair of Sauder’s Faculty Advisory Board.

Gilliland says Leith Wheeler’s involvement will go beyond the research lab itself, as they are also committed to providing additional training to students and opportunities to learn from members of their team.

“Hopefully, as Sauder grads are approaching the job market, they can really set themselves apart not just with the top theory they learn at Sauder, but with knowledge gained through practitioners in the field,” he says.

Liu confirms Gilliland’s hopes, crediting the PMF for equipping her with the perspectives and skills necessary to analyse companies and closely monitor market movements, as well as the confidence her job at Goldman Sachs requires.

“It’s taught me everything I know about the markets,” she says. “It’s developed me both professionally and personally.”