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Engagement with SIMM empowers #Bonas students, leads to jobs

Oct 02, 2017 |

Dr. Jim Mahar in class
By Susan Anderson

Stop by St. Bonaventure University’s Dee Financial Services Lab any time a Students in Money Management (SIMM) class is scheduled, and you will likely find the room filled to capacity — even on a sunny Friday afternoon of a get-away weekend.

“People are eager to be part of SIMM,” said Sydney Cassagnol, a senior finance and accounting major, who noted the high level of freedom its members are allowed. “We have a lot of control and are given the opportunity to present ideas that we are really excited about.”

Founded in 2004, 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.

This is Cassagnol’s third semester in SIMM and her first serving as co-manager of the Equity Fund. From analyzing stocks to pitching a proposal, Cassagnol said that membership in SIMM offers a wealth of practical experience. 

“This program has been one of the best experiences I have had during my time at Bonaventure,” she said. “It helped me discover a passion for finance and it has given me hands-on experience in investing, which I think is one of the most valuable things I will take away from college.”

Recent finance/MBA graduate Alex McLaughlin,’16, ’17, noted that participation in SIMM led to his job at CitiGroup where he serves as a balance sheet control analyst. In fact, he had the job offer weeks before graduation.

“Being a member of SIMM gives you a competitive edge and prepares you for the real world,” he said.

The secret to SIMM’s popularity as well as the profound influence the program has on its members can easily be attributed to one man: Dr. Jim Mahar, ’88.

Known as “The Finance Professor,” Mahar has been teaching in the School of Business since 1999 and directing SIMM for 10 years.

“Most schools have a money management program for students but only for upperclassmen. Here at Bona’s, we flip the model and invite students in from their first semester,” said Mahar.

Members are assigned to a certain sector of the fund, such as technology, health care or utilities, and are responsible for reporting on the fund’s holdings as well as any major news impacting that sector. They must also conduct research on equities and present pitches to buy, sell or hold an investment.

“It’s not a lecture class. It’s a ‘jump into the deep end and we’re here with a life preserver’ class,” said Mahar. “It forces people to get engaged. We have lots of discussion going on. They start out rudimentary and go up fast.”

Another important aspect to the SIMM experience is the level of alumni involvement. The Friday Forum features a weekly visitor from an expert in the field, either in person or via video. It has connected students to alumni and other professionals from as far away as Japan and India and as close as New York City. The students also head to the trading floors of Wall Street and Chicago every fall and spring. And they interact with the SIMM Board on a regular basis.

“The questions the board members ask of the students are very rigorous, probably more so than many boards would ask their CEOs,” said Mahar. “They also make sure there is progress year to year.”

Mahar said he is proud that students get involved in SIMM as early as their first semester and remain throughout an academic career. That involvement “offers them leadership skills and helps them land jobs,” he said.

For senior marketing major David Yousif, SIMM presents the perfect environment for hands-on learning.

“Dr. Mahar allows the students to think for themselves. It is truly a student-run organization. He does, however, know the right times to step in,” Yousif said. “Especially when it comes down to fully understanding a concept.”

Yousif has been involved with SIMM since his freshman year and today serves as co-director of marketing. He said what he appreciates most is the mentorship.

“Every year SIMM graduates some of the brightest students in the School of Business,” he said, “so to experience a variance in top-tier leadership over the past three years has been incredible.”

SIMM recently launched a crowdfunding site to boost funding for the program, featuring a $16,250 challenge match from alumni Chris and Eileen Madigan Kinslow and the SIMM Board. To make a gift and join the challenge, please visit  


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 #5 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.



Effective managers are strong organizers, planners, problem-solvers and motivators who can help a business or organization compete and succeed.

Management is an ideal major for grooming the corporate generalist. It develops decision-makers who are well equipped with a broad knowledge of all areas of business including accounting, business information systems, finance, marketing and economics. Management majors pursue a curriculum that emphasizes courses in these core areas.

They may also choose an emphasis in behavioral management (motivation, conflict, group dynamics) or quantitative management (statistics, models, computer simulations).

Four concentrations are available to management majors:
  • Family Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Global Business Management
  • Human Resource Management
Each concentration requires a major to take 9 credits as management electives. (See Curriculum & Courses page.)

Students may also minor in management. (See Minors in Business.)

Careers in Management

Management majors are well-equipped for career opportunities in a variety of businesses and not-for-profit organizations, such as human resources management, organizational development, production and operations management, sales and retail management; and supervisory positions in many fields including manufacturing, education, government and non-profit entities.

Other job opportunities exist in the areas of international business, purchasing, urban planning, health care administration, and plant management.

Additionally, quantitative and computer-related courses provide a solid foundation for careers in system analysis, business information systems, marketing research, and materials management and planning.

Faculty Research & Honors

    Apr 18, 2018

    School of Business
    Professor of Business Information Systems, Professor of Management
    Dr. Carl J. Case, professor of business information systems, Darwin L. King, professor of accounting, and Dr. Todd S. Palmer, associate professor of management, had their paper titled “Recreational Use of the Internet: An Examination of Undergraduate Business Students" published in the Proceedings of the 2018 International Academy of Business Disciplines 30th Annual Conference.

Management at SBU

Management majors learn a lot and are prepared for the real world.