Highlights of the 2015 NYC and Pacific Northwest networking trips

In January, the Financial Economics Institute and the Robert Day Scholars Program sponsored the 12th annual New York City Networking Trip (see students, pictured above). In the final week of winter break, nine juniors and five sophomores traveled to New York City to learn about the wide array of opportunities available in the financial services industry.  The trip offered a chance for students to connect with various alumni in both professional and casual settings.  Michelle Chamberlain, director of employer relations for the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, and Professor Joshua Rosett, Director of the Financial Economics Institute, accompanied the students on their visit.

First day

The students began their week the morning of Jan. 12 with a tour of the New York Stock Exchange.  Joe Vencil ’85 hosted the group on behalf of Albert Fried & Company, a specialist, institution-centric, trade execution firm.  Students received a brief tour of the Exchange’s museum and then walked the floor in small groups.  They even witnessed a live broadcast of CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The trip to the New York Stock Exchange was followed by a visit to ITG (Investment Technology Group, Inc.), an electronic broker and independent research firm.  Bob Gasser, ITG’s president and CEO, addressed students on the importance of investing in talented youth within ITG and the evolving functions of a research-focused brokerage firm working in an increasingly competitive space.  Following Gasser’s remarks, students posed questions to a panel of young professionals operating across the company in everything from sales to analytics.

The group then traversed West Street to visit Goldman Sachs.  Alumni working in many roles delivered a well-rounded perspective on working in financial services.  Christine Mann ’87 spoke about the firm’s private wealth management business and was joined by Andy Kaiser P’13, chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs Bank.  Kaiser reflected on his various roles within the bank over the past 20-plus years, including his time securitizing disaster risk, and the role of a Goldman Sachs partner.  Andrew Cosentino ’11, Andrew Duckworth ’12, Patricia Ingrassia ’13, and David Alvillar ’01 introduced Goldman’s securities division to the group.  Max Mullen ’12 and Shree Pandya ’14 overviewed the investment banking division.

The evening concluded with a networking reception hosted by Doug Peterson ’80 P ’14 ’15, CEO of McGraw Hill Financial.  The event was well attended by many CMC alums living in the New York area.

Day Two: Wall Street up-close

The second day was kicked off with a trip to Moelis & Co., where Peter Li ’06 and Jordan Stein ’14 hosted the group along with Senior Vice President Griff Norquist.  Students received a brief presentation expounding the major functions of the firm.  Peter and Jordan then led a panel of their colleagues, which touched on the role of a boutique investment banking analyst.

Next, students made their way south to Deutsche Bank, where they were hosted for lunch by Alan Delsman ’68, head of credit risk management for the Americas.  He was joined by Rich Ferguson ’81, chief risk officer for the Americas; Debbie Jones’01, VP of equity research;  Steven Limandibhratha ’14, risk analyst; and Zain Jamal ’10, a credit risk analyst who specializes in Real Estate.  The hosts delivered a firm-wide overview and presented various opportunities for young professionals within the bank.  A panel discussion followed.  The discussion provided a clear perspective of working in risk and equity research at a large global investment bank.  A strong emphasis was placed on the advantages of working at a truly multinational corporation that values working abroad.

Following a quick stop at Wall Street’s iconic bull statue, students received a tour of Bloomberg’s remarkable office space.  The strikingly open construction allowed the group to intimately observe the interworking of the information giant.  After the tour, Justin Sheen’03 met the group on the top floor, where he spoke about his plethora of roles at Bloomberg from within one of the building’s only non-glass conference rooms.

Students made their way to Rockefeller Plaza to visit Lazard, where they were hosted by Cav Walters ’13, and Sam Kaplan POM ’15.  The visit consisted of an extended panel discussion that touched on the merits of working in boutique banking, as well as the benefits of a liberal arts education for an investment banking analyst.

Tuesday concluded with a Dine Around program.  Small groups or individual students connected over dinner with alumni at restaurants scattered across Manhattan.  The nightly activities received rave reviews when students returned to the hotel.  The unique opportunity to spend an evening with a single or small group of alumni left students knowing that they will return from the trip with at least one strong point of future contact.

Day Three: A variety of large and boutique firms

Greenhill & Co. started off Wednesday with a presentation laying out their targeted services and an outline of the broader boutique investment banking landscape.  A panel of current analysts followed, where students learned about the various benefits of a generalist analyst program.

Next, Kevin Collins, client portfolio manager at Alger, delivered a presentation on the strategy of a research-driven asset manager, as well as explained the intricacies of the firm’s managerial structure.  Mr. Collins also gave a comprehensive overview of the asset management space.

Students then visited J.P. Morgan, where a panel discussion overviewed the various functions of the financial services giant.  Dana Staley ’12 gave insight into working in the investment banking division, while Merriel Foster ’14, and Managing Directors Susan Adamsen’81 and Leslie Lassiter SCR ’79 introduced the private bank.  The panel spoke about the everyday duties of their positions, as well as the benefits of working for a well-integrated investment bank that performs a wide range of functions.

Wednesday’s last firm visit was Millstein & Co., a boutique investment bank with a unique focus on restructuring.  Ali Abramovitz ’12 and Managing Director Bradley Hayes gave group presentations before the students broke into smaller groups to speak with both junior and senior bankers.

Wednesday concluded with an alumni networking reception at the Princeton Club.  The packed event allowed students to acquaint themselves with many alumni from the New York City area.

Last Day: Morgan Stanley, Atalaya, and more

The final day of the trip began with an early morning visit to Morgan Stanley, hosted by Ben Kraus ’11. Students learned about the firm’s securities division and asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a trader working at a bulge bracket bank.

Next, the group visited BNP Paribas where students were treated to a presentation by Chris Innes ’92 and Justin Eskind ’11.  Justin provided students with an overview of his day-to-day roles as a trader while Mr. Innes commented on the current equity trading environment and fielded questions about his unique path in finance.

In the afternoon, students had the opportunity to meet with Ivan Zinn ’96, the founding partner and chief investment officer at Atalaya Capital Management.  Mr. Zinn spoke to his experience starting his own firm, discussed the value of investing in credit opportunities, and offered advice about a career in both private equity and in the financial services industry.

Finally, the students visited Credit Suisse. where Meg Nunnally ’03 led a panel discussion with representatives from the firm’s investment banking, securities, research, and private banking divisions.  Students learned about the various career opportunities within the firm and garnered valuable insight into navigating the recruiting process.

Many of the students spent their final day in the city interviewing with some of the 14 firms visited earlier.  The scads of professional experience, coupled with the personal contacts developed during the firm visits and evening social events, will absolutely benefit students in future endeavors.

A great deal of thanks must be extended to the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, the Financial Economics Institute, the CMC Alumni and Parent Relations Office, the CMC Alumni Association, the RDS Advisory Board, and the many alumni hosts at the various firms for their generous contributions that made this trip possible.

*** TRAVELS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST: While a cadre of students traveled to the East Coast in the early weeks of 2015, another RDS/FEI-sponsored group visited firms in the Pacific Northwest associated with members of the CMC community.

Accompanied by Marisa Walter '98, who serves as associate director of career services and employer relations at the Robert Day School, the group's visit included key stops at Mentor Graphics and BMGI to meet with staff about career opportunities and the growth of investment and tech industries in the region.

Trustee Greg Hinckley '68 serves as the president of Mentor Graphics, one of "The Big Three" providers of the design software behind the electronics used by consumers on a daily basis; Trustee Michael Larson '80 serves as the chief investment officer for BMGI. BMGI also sponsors an asset management fellowship program at CMC.

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