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Participating in St. Bonaventure University’s Students in Money Management (SIMM) program has given MBA graduate student Alex McLaughlin a competitive edge.
A Finance/MBA major from Wellsville, McLaughlin says he has honed both hard and soft skills since joining the student-run investment management program in his freshman year.
“Being a member of SIMM prepares you for the real world and helps you perform better in other classes,” he said.
McLaughlin, who serves as a co-general manager of the program, noted that he has gained confidence in public speaking and has sharpened his critical thinking and research skills because of his SIMM involvement.
“Most days, we’re up in front of the class either giving a market overview or pitching to buy or sell a security,” he said. “If not for SIMM, I wouldn’t have half the financial knowledge I do right now.”
Founded in 2004 by Christopher, ’85, and Eileen, ’86, Kinslow, SIMM is an experiential learning program in which students in any major can learn about the investment process while helping to manage approximately $500,000 in real assets.
In addition to being a club, SIMM is available as a course for credit. The key to getting the most out of the program is to join early in an academic career, McLaughlin said. Participating across many semesters allows students to experience the challenges, opportunities, failures and successes of real-world investing.
McLaughlin most recently completed an internship at Citigroup Global Markets Inc. in Buffalo.
“When I came into my internship, I felt I had so much more knowledge than other interns my age who didn’t have an investment club at their school,” he said. “Freshmen will see things in SIMM that they wouldn’t usually see until their senior year.”
McLaughlin also interned with St. Bonaventure’s business office, where he reconciled the endowment investments as well as the SIMM accounts.
“His work was exemplary, and he was definitely one of my best interns,” said Patricia Shumway, senior accountant at St. Bonaventure. “His background in both accounting and finance and his participation with our Students in Money Management team gave him the skills necessary to perform with confidence.”
A high school fascination with the stock market led McLaughlin to major in finance. Being a member of a legacy family brought him to St. Bonaventure. His brother, Justin, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2012 and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications in 2014. Their late father, Daniel, an RIT graduate, attended Bona’s for one year, and their late grandfather, Edward, was a member of the Class of 1938.
Though he doesn’t graduate until May, McLaughlin has already been offered a full-time position with Citigroup, where he will serve as a Balance Sheet Control Analyst 2.
Looking back at his years with SIMM, McLaughlin says he most appreciates the opportunity to be a leader and work with other members of the group. “This is an exceptional program that is truly student-run,” he said. “The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.”
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #6 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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