Student Organization Spotlight: Portfolio Management Team (PMT)

The Portfolio Management Team at UIC Business is one of the leading student organizations that educates students about the fundamentals of investing in the stock market. PMT helps students manage diverse investment portfolios across five different sectors: consumer packaged goods, healthcare, financial services, technology and options. We caught up with Faris Surkovic, PMT president and senior finance major, to learn about the impact of changing times on PMT’s journey and to know about his experience so far. 

What is the vision of PMT? Has it changed considering current times?
The vision of PMT has always been to educate students about financial markets and help students develop solid investing skills. To provide students a place to network, as well as to give them the ability to connect with business professionals. This vision has held strong through all the years in which PMT has operated, and even through the tough times of COVID-19, we do our best to keep the vision alive. 

Tell us about your experience organizing events for PMT and how different that was compared to last year.
In the past, we were able to do various site visits and conduct in-person events like panel discussions. Professionals would come in to give us insight about the companies they work for and the details about roles applicable to students at UIC Business. Additionally, we would hold events to connect our members to the accomplished alumni network of UIC Business. Despite the absence of in-person interactions, PMT successfully conducted panel discussions with employees. We organized three employer interaction events and one alumni event this past semester. 

Tell us about the other events PMT plans to organize this spring, keeping in mind the present virtual scenario. 
We will continue to hold events with employers, as well as events with UIC Business alumni. We are also looking to bring in professionals from the trading industry to give insight. Lastly, we are planning to collaborate with other UIC student organizations for some events in 2021. 

What are the takeaways for students despite the absence of in-person events this year.
The main takeaways for PMT members have always been to learn the fundamentals of value investing and how to analyze stocks to see if they are sound. Also, improving our presentation skills are something we really work hard on. This helps our members speak comfortably to crowds of people. These are lessons that can be taught online as well as in-person.

What is the highlight of your association with PMT until now?
For me, PMT has significantly helped my internship and job search. In late 2018, PMT connected me with a professional organization called the Security Traders Association of Chicago (STAC) for a short period of time. Through this interaction with STAC, I was able to land two simultaneous internships: one in investment banking and the other in equity research. The investment banking internship resulted in a full-time job offer post my graduation. I would not have been fortunate enough to know of these open positions, or even stand a chance of converting these internships to job opportunities, without being actively involved with PMT. 

Lastly, how important do you think it is to be part of a student organization given the present circumstances?
I think it is extremely crucial to be a part of a student organization regardless of the current circumstances. Some of my best friends are from PMT, and student organizations help in creating long-lasting friendships. Keeping in mind the virtual scenario, the importance increases even more as students get an additional opportunity to connect with like-minded peers. Social interactions and strong networking are extremely important factors for a successful student life in a business school! 

Thank you Faris for sharing your thoughts. We wish you and the entire team at PMT a great 2021 ahead. We are looking forward to some great events and learning experiences for the students at UIC Business. If you are interested in knowing more about the Portfolio Management Team, please feel free to follow them on LinkedIn and Instagram