How the MIPC Shaped Samuel Vallée’s Career

Every year, hundreds of students from around the globe participate in the McGill International Portfolio Challenge, hoping to impress the judges with innovative portfolio strategies and gain access to unique recruitment opportunities. “MIPC Perspectives” is a new project designed to recognize the hard work of uniquely skilled individuals who have previously participated in the challenge. In 2019, Samuel Vallée stood out from the crowd by winning the MIPC’s third edition alongside team “Mind the GAAP” and eventually securing a job offer at Fiera Capital – one of the MIPC’s sponsors.  

The MIPC’s Third Edition – Designing a Sustainable Investment Strategy 

The third edition of the MIPC centered on the Newfoundland and Labrador Pension Investment Board (NLPIB), a fictional asset manager responsible for managing $15B of assets of the province’s 3 largest public pensions plans. Participants were asked to devise an optimal portfolio strategy that accommodated the competing interests of the different stakeholders involved while addressing climate risks.  

Samuel’s Background 

On June 14, our media team sat down with Samuel Vallée, who currently works as a Quantitative Analyst in Fiera Capital’s multi-asset class solutions team. Before joining Fiera Capital, Samuel completed his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics at HEC Montréal, followed by a Masters in Financial Engineering. While at university, he participated in several academic competitions and contributed to managing HEC Montréal’s investment fund.  

Samuel’s MIPC Journey 

Samuel described his experience at the MIPC as truly unique. Not only did he get the chance to work on a real, comprehensive case with actual clients and investment data, but he also attended several networking sessions and met fellow participants. According to him, the MIPC provides university students the opportunity to prepare for professional life by applying academic knowledge in an industry setting. In fact, Samuel admitted that many of the topics that he encountered in the case are closely related to what he does on a day-to-day basis at Fiera Capital.  

Another aspect of the challenge that Samuel particularly enjoyed was the diversity of the sponsors’ panel – ranging from asset management companies to pension funds and private equity firms. When he decided to participate in the MIPC, Samuel, like many college students, was unsure of what area of finance he wanted to work in. The MIPC provided him and his fellow participants with a wide and diverse selection of experts to talk to. To him, the MIPC is a great way for university students to get solid exposure to different spheres of finance, understand what is going on in the global markets, and apply their academic learnings in a real setting.  

Samuel’s Thoughts on the Grand Theme of Net-Zero 

This year, the MIPC’s grand challenge will focus on the net-zero transition. As an analyst working at an asset management firm, Samuel is very much exposed to net-zero, and much of his work incorporates ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations. According to him, “everyone is talking about net-zero”, and for many of his clients, including sustainable assets in their portfolio is a requirement. The growth of assets such as green bonds is a testament to the increasing prevalence of ESG in the investment world. 

Advice to Future Participants 

Samuel took the last few minutes of the interview to offer advice to prospective MIPC participants. Working hard is crucial to succeeding as the societal issues that the MIPC selects each year are complex and require thorough analysis. Samuel also stressed the importance of having good visuals and a story to tell, as reflected by the MIPC’s specialty prizes which are awarded to teams and/or individuals that excel in a specific category like storytelling or innovation.