By Kevin Potterton ’12, FEI Research Analyst and Trip Coordinator
This January, the Financial Economics Institute, in conjunction with the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, sponsored the 9th annual New York City Networking Trip. One week before returning to campus for the start of the spring semester, fourteen juniors and four senior trip coordinators travelled to the Big Apple to learn about the world of finance and connect with CMC alumni of all ages.
The 2012 trip marked the third year that students took the lead in organizing the experience. The coordinating committee was made up of Drew Oetting ’12, Kevin Potterton ’12, Coady Smith ’12, and Dana Staley ’12. All four members of the committee participated in the 2011 trip as juniors. The committee did everything from organizing firm visits to conducting mock interviews for the juniors.
The trip began on Monday, January 9th, with a cocktail reception hosted by Sue Matteson King ’85, managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Students got the chance to interact with CMC alumni working in the field of finance, including members of the Financial Economics Institute Board of Advisors and Associate members. After a quick change of venue, the party enjoyed dinner at the Glass House Tavern.
On Tuesday morning, the group kicked off a series of firm visits with a trip to Goldman Sachs, where they were hosted by David Alvillar ’01, who spoke to the students about his career path from CMC and his experiences on various trading desks at Goldman. Mr. Alvillar was joined by fellow alum Christine Mann ’87 and Holly Poole M’11, who spoke about their roles in investment management and leveraged finance respectively. The students also had the privilege to hear from Andrew Kaiser P’13, a member of the RDS Board of Advisors and the COO of Goldman Sachs Bank.
After a quick photo op with the Wall Street Bull, the group made their way to Deutsche Bank where they were hosted by Alan Delsman ’68, a managing director in credit risk management. He was joined by managing director Rich Ferguson ’81, and analysts Zain Jamal ’10 and Kaitlyn Desai ’11 (Ms. Desai helped coordinate the 2011 NYC trip in her senior year). This visit gave students the unique opportunity to learn about the role of risk management in an investment bank, but they were also privy to hear from several members of the investment banking division at DB, including alums Jane Lee ’02 and Esther Kim ’09.
For their final visit of the day, the students headed back to midtown to visit Morgan Stanley in the heart of Times Square. The group was hosted by Scott Ashby ’95, executive director, and although Mr. Ashby was called away on business at the last moment, a group of young alumni from all parts of the firm were available for a conversation about their roles at MS and the transition from CMC to the world of professional finance. Laura Jileta M’11 spoke about the debt capital markets group, while Yuchen Zhang ’10 represented investment banking, and Ben Kraus ’11 shared his experiences on the trading desk.
After three informative firm visits during the day, the students spent Tuesday night connecting with alumni from all over the greater New York area at the CMC Alumni Association Reception hosted at the Yale Club by Kristen Edgreen-Kaufman ’98. The event drew alumni of all ages and even a sizeable contingent of current students.
Wednesday morning began with a visit to Atalaya Capital Management, where the group met with founding partner and chief investment officer Ivan Zinn ’96. Mr. Zinn gave the students a primer on the world of hedge funds and private equity, providing insights into the real estate investments that have become Atalaya’s specialty. Mr. Zinn also fielded questions about his career path and the unique challenges of starting his own firm.
In the afternoon, the students had lunch at RBC Capital Markets with Robert Wetenhall ’94, a director in equity research. Mr. Wetenhall spoke to the students about the importance of firm culture and finding a job that fits one’s skill set. A panel of young analysts gave the students a view of their day-to-day role at RBC. This panel included recent graduate Alexander Reichert ’11 who spoke about his role on the debt capital markets desk.
For their final Wednesday visit, the group visited Moelis & Co., where Stella Ho ’97 was on hand to speak about her role as a vice president. The students also spoke with a managing director and several analysts about the unique experience of working at a boutique investment bank founded less than 5 years ago.
The group started off Thursday, their last day of activities, with a trip downtown to visit Deloitte Consulting. Josh Siegel ’10 made the flight from San Francisco to speak with the students about his experiences. Deloitte was the only consulting firm on the itinerary, so Mr. Siegel and his colleagues’ descriptions gave a unique perspective on an industry that many CMC graduates pursue.
Rockefeller Center was the location of the students’ next visit to The Capital Group. They had lunch with Brad Barrett ’00, vice president and investment analyst, who made the trip from Los Angeles to speak to the group about his experiences investing in internet, media, and telecom companies. This visit was of special interest to the many trip participants who are also members of CMC’s Student Investment Fund. Mr. Barrett gave an overview of Capital Group’s position within the investment landscape, described his own analytical strategies, and then fielded questions about everything from the state of the telecom industry to the efficiency of capital markets.
The group’s final firm visit of the trip was a surprise one. The students secured a visit to Wells Fargo at the last minute with the help of Kyle Casella ’10, an investment banking analyst in Wells’ Los Angeles office. The group heard from Bill Bundy, a managing director of the technology, media, and telecom group, who spoke about his movement up through the ranks of investment banking. Mr. Bundy was accompanied by a panel of analysts and associates who gave their own take on the day-to-day life of an investment banker.
The 2012 New York City Networking trip was a whirlwind success. It was not easy to fit nine firm visits into three days, a new record for the trip, but the wide variety of companies visited, and the many different functions explored within those firms, provided an educational experience unlike many others. The things the students learned and the connections they made will no doubt be invaluable as they work to establish their careers.