Celebrating 10 years at Desautels Capital Management

For McGill University’s Master of Management in Finance (MMF) and Honours in Investment Management (HIM) students, Desautels Capital Management offers a rare opportunity to gain real-world investment experience.

How many business students manage multi-million dollar investment funds even before they graduate?

This year, McGill University celebrates the 10th anniversary of Desautels Capital Management (DCM), Canada’s first university-owned, student-run investment management firm.

At McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management, every student enrolled in the Master of Management in Finance (MMF) program and the Honours in Investment Management (HIM) program will enter the workforce with knowledge gleaned from managing more than $4 million in assets through DCM.

In today’s competitive labour market, it’s hard to overstate the value of practical, realistic experience in the eyes of top employers. In today’s competitive labour market, it’s hard to overstate the value of practical, realistic experience in the eyes of top employers.

“The hands-on experience that DCM offers is essential,” says Paul Barnett, Managing Director at Ulysses Management. “Experiences that simulate the work environment allow new graduates to hit the ground running and make immediate contributions to their employer.”

MMF DCM Reception

MMF 2019 DCM Networking Event

Over the course of 12 months, the MMF provides specialized training that prepares students for successful careers in the financial sector. As part of the MMF program, students join a team of analysts to manage two of the four funds at Desautels Capital Management: the Alpha Squared Fund and the Socially Responsible Investing Equity Fund.

Through the Alpha Squared Fund ($2M), student analysts invest in high-quality equities in North America. Using a combination of top-down macro analysis, bottom-up fundamental valuation, and quantitative analysis, they learn to strategically allocate funds by sector and region.

The newly established Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Equity Fund ($2M) equips students with a lens to focus on environmental, social, and governance considerations when investing. Using specific screening criteria, student analysts weigh factors like climate change, sustainability, workers’ rights, and corporate structure in addition to financial returns as they allocate resources.

“Social responsibility is becoming more and more important to our investors and it’s also something that our students are very passionate about,” says Vadim di Pietro, Associate Professor of Finance and Chief Investment Officer at DCM.

Professor di Pietro mentors students to become effective managers as they master the components of their work as DCM analysts, from research and trade execution to compliance and settlement. Student analysts are divided into teams by equity sector. The focus is on rigorous fundamental and quantitative analysis, but students also take on secondary roles in Risk Management, Economics, Sustainability, or Marketing. Four times a week, the entire investment team meets to review fund performance, analyze market conditions, and pitch potential investments.

While MMF students manage the Alpha Squared Fund and the Socially Responsible Investing Equity Fund, McGill’s HIM students manage two different funds at DCM: the Global Equity Fund and the Fixed Income Fund. Together, MMF and HIM students manage more than $8.5 million in assets.

For many students, working at DCM is a linchpin of their time at McGill, providing a critical link between theory and practice.

Shivi Lakhtakia, MMF'18Shivi Lakhtakia (MMF’18) credits her experience at DCM with helping her succeed in her current role as Associate Analyst at BCI. “I chose the MMF program because of its well-rounded focus on all finance-related disciplines and the practical experience it provided through Desautels Capital Management,” she shares.

“It has been highly instrumental in building a strong foundation and understanding of assets, debts, and capital markets, and the financial modeling that comprises investment management decisions and valuations. Thanks to my experience in the program, I truly feel better-equipped to thrive in a fast-paced, evolving world of finance.”

More about our MMF

The McGill Master of Management in Finance degree is a pre-experience twelve-month specialized program in finance.

More about our HIM program

The BCom Honours in Investment is a selective undergraduate program that prepares students for a career in financial asset management.


Correction: An earlier version of this article failed to recognize the contributions of McGill’s Honours in Investment Management (HIM) students, who manage Desautels Capital Management alongside MMF students. We regret the omission.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated: 2020/10/01

For the latest information on McGill University's response to COVID-19, please visit the Coronavirus Information website.

For Desautels specific updates please visit our COVID-19 FAQ page.

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