The Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) is a highly valued organization within the Robins School of Business. Created in 1993 by the Board of Trustees, the organization provides valuable, real-time, experiential learning in securities analysis and portfolio management by entrusting a portion of University of Richmond’s endowment to SMIF managers. These students act as security analysts and portfolio managers, working with finance department faculty, an advisory board consisting of investment professionals in the Richmond community and University alumni mentors to oversee the fund.

SMIF is the capstone to investment studies in a sequence of courses developed by the finance department over the past decade. Each year, the fund continues to improve and plays a unique role in the finance curriculum. Once selected, managers are entered into an investment track consisting of four courses. Practical investment knowledge gained in these classes, exercised through field trips, internships and a close working relationship with market professionals has enhanced the educational experience for fund managers.

Peter Donohue, ’16, is the general manager of SMIF for the 2015-16 academic year, operating as the liaison between the organization and University administration. Studying business administration with a concentration in finance, Donohue was first attracted to SMIF when touring campus as an incoming freshman. “Both of my parents work in financial services, so I knew that was the career path I wanted to follow,” Donohue shared. “SMIF is an unbelievable opportunity to have as an undergraduate, and I knew that it would offer me a learning experience completely different from that of a traditional classroom setting.”

SMIF has been considered one of the more unique and prestigious programs offered at the University, and managers are chosen through a rigorous selection process. “I applied alongside about 30 peers last spring. After completing a round of superday-style interviews, I was chosen along with 16 other students to manage the fund.”

Each fall, SMIF members embark on a trip to New York City with their advisors, spending the time meeting with alumni, networking with employers and experiencing Wall Street firsthand. This year the students visited with four asset managers, one private equity firm and three bulge-bracket banks.

“I think what really makes University of Richmond special is the close-knit network that is created. Alumni genuinely want to help students and other alumni, and that really came across in our trip,” Donohue shared. “The trip was a great way to hear alumni’s stories. Many of the student managers already have full-time job offers, so the trip was focused more on what a career might look like in two to five years. It was also a great way to gain exposure to alternative careers in finance, not necessarily a banking role at a bulge-bracket firm.”

The University’s Alumni Association and regional host committees have organized welcome receptions for President Crutcher in regions around the country, and SMIF students on the trip were able to attend the New York City event at the Lincoln Center. “I think my favorite memory from the trip was the Welcome Reception,” Donohue said. “The amount of alumni that came out in support of the new president spoke volumes about how committed Richmond graduates are to their alma mater. The opportunity to meet with alumni at an event like that is always special, and it really reminded me why I chose University of Richmond.”

Donohue will take what he has learned in Robins School courses and SMIF with him after graduation to New York where he will be working in credit sales at Barclays.