Since 2009, members of Student Management Investment Fund (SMIF) at Florida International University (FIU) have been investing real money under the guidance of an advisory board comprising members of the business community. Recently, Sofia Bitela (MSF ’10), Nina Nikolic (BBA ’10), Alex Acosta (BBA ’08) and Jack Christian joined the board, charged with continuing the responsibility of “asking tough questions and deciding which investments will be made,” according to Helen Simon, director, State Farm Financial Literacy Lab in the College of Business Administration.
“I really enjoy being a part of the advisory board, which allows me to provide students with insight into their analyses as well as career development mentorship that is often the key factor for success for many people when they’re just starting out,” said Bitela, who works for Abakan Inc., a venture capital firm and also co owns an Excel financial modeling training program, Wall Street to Main Street, with a fellow SMIF alumnus, Joshua Emory (MIB ’10).
Among the benefits to Nikolic, wealth advisor: she met her boss, Roark (Rocky) Young, president and CEO, Young Stovall, and a SMIF advisory board member, at an SMIF presentation.
“SMIF made a great difference in my educational experience and I am thrilled to give my input into further development of the program,” she said. “In addition, my firm will be hiring more people next year and I believe SMIF is the best place to look for individuals to hire.”
Acosta, an associate for ACM Capital Partners—a corporate turnaround and financial restructuring firm—appreciated the mentors he has had and therefore “the opportunity to give back and get involved with some of FIU’s best and brightest finance students was appealing to me.”
“As a potential employer of FIU grads, I see the key benefit of being on the SMIF Advisory Board as the opportunity to get to know students who have an interest in pursuing a career in private banking,” said Christian, vice president, JP Morgan. “As a participant in the interview process for analysts each year, familiarity with the FIU students will help me make recommendations to the analyst recruiter. I also enjoy mentoring young people who are interested in careers in the financial services industry.”