BY JOSEPH W. BRUZZESI
A group of prospective students were touring The Kania School of Management (KSOM) Monday and took a quick look into the daily life of a business student.
After the tour guide discussed the features of the Alperin Financial Center, a high school student from Massachusetts said, “The technology at this school is unbelievable. This may be one of most modern campuses I’ve seen yet.”
Consistently improving technology is one of several initiatives the administration of the KSOM has focused on. The Alperin Financial Center is a state-of-the-art trading laboratory. While the center is not equipped with microscopes and petri dishes, it features Bloomberg terminals, a stock ticker, dual monitors at 14 workstations, an array of financial and mathematical software and powerful hardware.
Onlookers see a room full of numbers and charts, in which students uncover the phenomena of modern finance, economics, and accounting.
KSOM has recently revamped a past initiative of having “executives in residence.” In the past week, The University has had two executives in residence that provided valuable learning experiences and career advice to students and faculty.
University alumnus Thomas Lynch spoke to Xuewu Wang’s, Ph.D., portfolio management class and met with several small groups of business students Thursday. Lynch was an investment banker and held positions at firms such as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. After a successful career in Wall Street finance, Lynch now holds an executive management role at an expanding alternative energy company, KDC Solar.
Lynch offered some important advice he learned over the past 25 years: knowing one’s audience, attention to detail and rising to the occasion. He explained that while it may be acceptable to text a friend with spelling errors and modern acronyms, the same cannot be said for your boss. It is extremely important that today’s students be mindful of spelling, grammar and proper communication when they interact electronically with co-workers.
While speaking in interviews, Lynch explained that it is imperative that students show employers that they are interested in learning, growing and ultimately contributing to the firm. While a role in a merger group at an investment bank provides junior analysts with accelerated experience and competitive pay, the role should not be taken for granted. A trend seen in the finance world is that of individuals who want jobs, big paychecks and bonuses but want to take increasingly more vacation days and days off. If your senior manager is working weekends, students should expect to as well.
One of the most valuable insights from Lynch was about networking. Lynch encouraged students to reach out to recent graduates, as they will be able to provide the most color on interviews, skills needed to excel in the workplace and academic advice. The networking process is not as simple as just sending an email.
Actually connecting with someone requires a creative questioning process. Taking the Federal Reserve tapering announcement, for example, students commonly ask, “What are your thoughts on the announcement?” While this may create an opportunity for conversation, it is more important that the student create a venue for discussion that is more based on the person’s actual work. An improved way to ask a question about the announcement could be, “How did the Federal Reserve’s decision to continue quantitative easing (QE3) affect a deal you are currently working on?”
KSOM hosted another executive in residence, Professor Leslie McNew on Monday. McNew is the managing partner of N3Q Inc., Risk Advisor and the inventor/developer of VirtualCreditServices.com. She has held positions at PG&E Energy Group, G.K. Risk Management, Reynolds Metals Company FIMAT Futures USA, Morgan Stanley and Company, and Equitable Life Assurance Society. She has held teaching positions at the University of Dayton, Tulane University, Boston College, Virginia State University, John Tyler Community College, the University of Michigan, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Virginia Commonwealth University.
McNew held a learning seminar from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. called Beyond Chaos. More than 20 finance, accounting, and economics majors attended the event, which was a combination of a live foreign exchange trading seminar and learning workshop. Students got to experience some volatility in the currency markets, making decision based off of a model developed by McNew.
Later in the afternoon, students spent a few hours with McNew learning more about analyzing the U.S. dollar-euro market. Using advanced technical indicators, students took a look back at indicators from the past and the resulting changes in the market. This was a stimulating program for students, as much of the theory learned in classrooms revolves around fundamental analysis. Fundamental analysis seeks to identify mispriced securities in markets by analyzing their fundamental data and establishing a forecasted price based on that data. Technical analysis, on the other hand, takes market prices as a given and attempts to spot trends and opportunities using financial charting.
Students in the KSOM are expected to take full advantage of the opportunities offered to them. The small group environment enabled by the size of the KSOM offers opportunities that students at larger institutions may never see.
KSOM is developing initiatives to enrich student education. It is now up to the students to take advantage of them.
Contact the writer: