Sixteen College of Business Students Get a Taste of Wall Street

January 20th, 2011

There’s no better place to experience the finance industry than New York, Wall Street to be exact. A group of 16 College of Business (CoB) students traveled to New York City where they were able to meet with some extraordinary business leaders and visit iconic financial institutions.

MSU students began their trip with a visit to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) where they were given a personal tour on the floor of the exchange. This was followed by a tour of NASDAQ and Standard & Poor’s (S&P), one of the top credit rating companies in the world. While at S&P, students and faculty were able to speak with one of their analysts who also talked about MSU’s credit ratings.

At the New York Federal Reserve, which implements monetary policy for the United States, students listened to a lecture by one of the professionals, John McGowan, who is directly involved in this process.

MSU alumnus, Cory Pulfrey, hosted the group at Morgan Stanley, which is one of the oldest, most respected and largest investment banks in the world. While there, they also talked to Wes Edens, the founder of Fortress Investment Group, who is a Montana native and had attended MSU his freshman year of college. Lastly, at Citigroup, a very well-known international bank, everyone was able to meet with the director of North American Markets, Suni Harford, who also has family roots in Montana.

The group took in some cultural and historic sites when they weren’t visiting financial institutions. They spent some time at Ground Zero and Central Park. Students also took advantage of the live music scene by listening to blues and jazz at some local clubs. They even took in a cabaret show while there.

The trip provided significant opportunities for the students to listen to and interact with leaders in different fields on Wall Street. They were also able to see whether or not working in this environment would be a good fit for their own professional aspirations. It was more than just an eye-opening experience. The Montana connections they found demonstrated that with hard work, Montanans can be successful at the highest levels of the profession.

Haley Reutimann, one of the students on the trip, was thrilled with the opportunity to go to New York.
“It was truly a remarkable experience. Our group had the opportunity to experience things many others do not get the chance to do. The connections we made, as well as the individuals we had the opportunity to meet were incredibly intelligent financial professionals who were able to give us insight into the top tier of finance professions. Not only did we have the opportunity to network, but the financial institutions we visited were among the most renowned, as they not only apply to finance. It is inspiring to experience New York from this perspective, and I think we can all be grateful for the amount of time and effort our professors put into planning this trip and making our experience so remarkable,” Reutimann said.

While there, several students applied for jobs and internships with the companies they visited. The process of making a connection, and then using that connection in assisting with the application, was educational.

This opportunity was first made possible two years ago by Gary Caton, the Finance Club faculty advisor, who has spent a considerable amount of time putting together this trip every other year. The quality of the trip resulted from these efforts through the connections that he made on previous trips, and new connections that he made for this trip.

Caton said that the faculty who went on this year’s trip also found it to be a great networking and educational opportunity and experience. “We made contact with potential employers of our students, and learned along with the students what some of the highly innovative finance companies are doing.”

When asked about any lasting impressions, Caton answered, “When our well-dressed, attentive, and curious students visit these institutions they make positive impressions in the minds of high-level finance professionals of the college, the university and the state. For example, the day we visited Citigroup, a group of students from Harvard was also visiting. While the Citigroup people will certainly never mistake the two, on that day MSU and Harvard were intertwined in the minds of the HR professionals who put our visit together and the speakers who talked to both groups.”

Through dedicated faculty efforts, opportunities like this trip are offered to CoB students. Students witnessed the financial institutions at work, met with professionals in the field and asked them questions, as well as absorbed as much information about the industry as possible. With this experience, students saw how what they’ve learned in the classroom is applicable to careers in finance, and their exposure to leaders in the industry may give them that needed edge if they apply for jobs with companies they visited on this trip.