ENTREVESTOR: Student stock prodigy off to see Warren Buffett


After helping to lead an $8-million student investment fund at University of New Brunswick, Tuan Anh Bui relished the reward of hearing Warren Buffet speak on the subject of investing.

The soon-to-be graduate of UNB business school recently won a trip to Omaha, Neb. to hear Buffett address the annual general meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company the master investor controls.

For Tuan, it was a big moment.

“We joined 20,000 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in listening to Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (Buffett’s deputy),” he said. His key takeaway was that “their view on finance and investment is unique and sometimes challenges the theories I learned in university.”

He said it taught him “that investing is more of an art than a science. I need to continuously cultivate my knowledge and experience in order to grasp market dynamics.”

Now, Tuan is taking his $20,000 Frank H. Sobey Award for excellence in business studies and is heading to Ontario to look for opportunities. He said he plans to give back to the Atlantic region when he has gained more experience.

Established in 1998, the UNB Student Investment Fund program allows top business administration and MBA students to study for their CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) level one exam and obtain investment experience by investing $8 million of real money in the capital markets.

Tuan believes it’s an important educational option, particularly in a region that struggles to attract investment.

It’s one of the school’s most successful experiential learning programs. Students have grown the initial pot of around $3.5 million to its current $8 million.

The fund has had two clients. For the first client, the young investors grew an initial $1 million to $3.3 million. The second client’s investment has grown from $2.5 million to $4.7 million.

Tuan worked as an equity research analyst looking into investments in the financial sector, including banks and real estate.

“Being in the program allowed us to travel to Toronto, where we met with firms on Bay Street,” he said.

“Being in New Brunswick is a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to learning about investment. It’s not a financial hub, but the program allowed me to get closer to experts and meet students from elsewhere.”

Tuan will graduate from the UNB program, which is sponsored by New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation and the Peter Cundill Foundation, in October.

The program’s 200 graduates have won 15 podium finishes in university competitions, including being the first Canadian university to win the CFA North American Investment Research Competition.

They have taken jobs at Canadian, U.S. and international banks in diverse financial centres. Others have joined corporations and asset management firms such as RBC Global Asset Management. About half have stayed in the Atlantic region.

Tuan enrolled at UNB after emigrating from Vietnam to New Brunswick six years ago with his family.

He’s keen to work in Ontario’s Waterloo and Toronto regions because they are thriving financial and innovation hubs. The Waterloo area has many startups fostered by centres like Communitech, the Accelerator Centre and University of Waterloo.

Tuan said that when he has gained more knowledge and experience, he would like to contribute to the growth of New Brunswick.

“I go away to be able to give back,” he said. “I’ve met amazing people in New Brunswick. New Brunswickers have a lot of ideas but we are lacking investments.

“Maybe I can help fund future projects. Maybe the network I bring back can help dreams come true.”

Carol Moreira