2016 New York City Networking Trip
By Matthieu Hafemeister ’17 and Rish Chitre ’18
This January, the Financial Economics Institute and the Robert Day Scholars Program sponsored the 13th annual New York City Networking Trip. In the final week of winter break, three juniors and sixteen sophomores traveled to NYC to learn about the various opportunities available in the financial services industry. The trip offered chances for students to connect with various alumni in both professional and casual settings. Marisa Walter, Interim Director of External Relations for the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, Professor Joshua Rosett, Director of the Financial Economics Institute, and Eric Hughson, Chair of the Robert Day School faculty, accompanied the students on their visit.
The trip started on the morning of Monday, January 11th with a tour of the New York Federal Reserve. Katie Femia ’06, a Markets and Policy Associate hosted the group. In addition to Katie, Chelsea Wunderlich, Intern Recruiter, joined us. Katie spoke to the group about her duties with regard to analyzing global financial market developments on behalf of the Federal Open Market Committee. Students also received a tour of the Fed’s unique architecture and were shown the gold vault far below the actual Federal Reserve.
The trip to the New York Federal Reserve was followed by a visit to Endeavor Global, a nonprofit organization that aims to assist entrepreneurs by providing them with global services such as a large network for funding and global mentorship. Endeavor was also the recipient of the 2015 Kravis Leadership Prize. The group met with Mark Trapani, an Associate within the Entrepreneur Selection & Growth Division at Endeavor. Mark spoke about the upcoming challenges to entrepreneurs as well as a new division of Endeavour called Endeavor Catalyst, an innovative co-investment vehicle designed to support Endeavor Entrepreneurs.
The group then traversed down the Avenue of the Americas to visit BBVA, a Spain-based multinational bank. The group met with Carmen Lundell ’13, an Analyst in the Domestic Debt Capital Markets Division of the bank. Carmen was joined by Richard Cascais from the LATAM Credit Sales Division and Alejandro Cuadrado, Global Head of Foreign Exchange. Carmen spoke about her role within Debt Capital Markets and her transition from the rotational program at BBVA where she previously worked. Richard spoke about the global climate in Latin America and the challenges facing sub investment grade companies. All three individuals spoke to the positive impact of BBVA’s expansion into the United States.
The evening offered some students the time to explore the city while other students attended a “Dine-Around” opportunity with CMC alumni in the New York City area. Pairs of students ventured out into the city to meet the alumni at a predetermined restaurant. The discussions were both casual and professional as students met with alumni of different ages and sectors of the financial services.
The next morning started off bright and early with a visit to Morgan Stanley in their Times Square office. The group was hosted by Phil Crawford, a recent 2015 graduate and Ben Kraus ’11. Both work in the Sales and Trading Department of the investment bank. This visit stood out to students because they were exposed to a different division other than the traditional Investment Banking Division. The fast paced nature of the job and stories of large quantities of money being exchanged gave students ideas for potential career opportunities. Ben and Phil also spoke to the client-side of the business and some of their day-to-day operational tasks. Finally, Ben and Phil gave the students an outlook and opinion on the happenings of the volatile financial markets and how that affects the Sales and Trading business.
The group switched gears for the next visit to Sibson Consulting, a strategic human resources consulting firm. Students were given a presentation by Senior Associate Ilan Bielas ’13, and Associates Hunter Salem, Sam Fassak and Megan Werner. The topic of conversation revolved around various projects the individuals within the group have worked on and the impact those projects have had on the company. Many of the projects focused on maximizing the productivity of the clients’ human capital.
The afternoon started off with a visit to Deutsche Bank. The students began by having lunch in the office and socializing with Alan Delsman ’68 a Senior Credit Executive; Tony Conklin, a Managing Director in Equity Research; Steven Limandibhratha ’14, Risk Analyst; Zain Jamal ’10, Risk Analyst, specializing in real estate; Catherine Madigan, a Managing Director of the Leveraged Finance and Risk Division; Taylor Pulling, an Analyst in the Leveraged Finance and Risk Division; Mimi Rogers, Analyst; and Nicolle Bugajsk, the Graduate Recruiter. The hosts delivered a firm-wide overview and presented various opportunities for young professionals within the bank. Next, there was a panel discussion on opportunities along with descriptions of what is involved in 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. The analysts and Mr. Delsman spoke of the opportunities to work in Germany given the bank’s origin.
After visiting the iconic Wall Street Bull statue, the group made their way to the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial and then on to visit Goldman Sachs. There, we were joined by a wide array of people in the investment bank. Andrew Cosentino ’11, an Associate in the Investment Banking Division; Andrew Duckworth ’12, an Associate in the Securities Division; John Willian P’17, a Head of Securities, Futures and Clearing; Ben Colman ’03, a Vice President in the Technology Division; Christine Mann ’87, a Vice President/Private Wealth Advisor in the Private Wealth Management Division; David Alvillar ’01, a Director in the Sales and Trading Division; Andrew Kaiser P’13, a Managing Director of Private Banking; and Peter Rominger PIT ’14, an Analyst in the Asset Management Division of the bank, gave the group an in depth overview of the bank and the different operations that are part of Goldman Sachs.
Tuesday concluded with an alumni reception hosted by Doug Peterson ’80 P’14,’15, President and CEO of McGraw Hill Financial. The event was attended by various alumni from the New York City area and also a few from other locations including Chicago and San Francisco.
The third day started with a visit to Atalaya Capital. Ivan Zinn ’96, Founder, hosted the group and was joined by Ben Spector, part of the Operations Team, and Mia Genereux, an Analyst. Mr. Zinn handed out copies of an overview of the company and talked about the business of buying distressed debt and assets and turning them around by assessing the true value of the asset or security. He also had Mia talk about her role as a recent recruit, the interviewing process with examples of interview questions she was asked, and the work she does on a daily basis.
The group then ventured over to Miller Buckfire, a restructuring firm which is part of Stifel. The group was given a fantastic presentation by John McKenna ’89 and was joined by May Reilly, a Scripps College graduate. Mr. McKenna gave a presentation about restructuring and the challenges, both professionally and personally, that someone working in restructuring faces. Mr. McKenna imparted valuable advice to the group and urged us to think about restructuring as an opportunity for those who enjoy learning about intricate technical skills.
After Miller Buckfire, the team visited the JP Morgan office and was joined by Merriel Foster ’14, an Analyst in the Asset Management Division of the bank; Susan Adamsen ’81, a Managing Director of Private Banking; Investment Banking Analysts Andrew Nam ’15 and Daniel Anderson; and Nickolas Polowchena, a VP and the Analyst Manager. The panel of individuals gave the group a good sense of what a career in banking and asset management implied for people who are just out of college, but also what staying with a big firm can look like 20 or 30 years down the line. Analysts spoke of their daily duties and recent deals they worked on, while Susan spoke about her interaction with clients and her role in developing professional relationships.
The day concluded with a visit to KKR, a prominent private equity firm founded by CMC alumni Henry Kravis ’67 and George Roberts ’66, along with Jerome Kohlberg. The students were introduced to a panel of analysts and associates within a variety of groups at KKR. Rodrigo Bravo ’13, Lin Hi, Andrew Bergman ’14, Brandon Brier, Naven Johal, Jane Cai, and John Lu all spoke to us about the various groups at KKR including a KKR- specific group called the Internal Capital Markets Group. The panel also spoke about the recent shift in KKR’s recruiting process to include recent college undergraduates as well as recent graduate students.
That evening, more “Dine Around” opportunities were scheduled for some of the students.
Thursday, January 14th was the last day of visits, which included a total of five different visits. The first was PA Consulting. PA Consulting is a management consulting firm specializing in technology and innovation. We were hosted by Clark Kissiah ’13, in the Energy & Utilities sector; Michael Zhan, Energy & Utilities; Justin Hughes, Federal & Defense; and Ashley Amaral in the Healthcare sector. The team talked about their roles in developing technology for clients’ businesses as well as fulfilling consulting duties to maximize efficiency and impact.
After PA Consulting, the group made their way to Wells Fargo where they were greeted with a presentation by a panel of Investment Banking Analysts. The group was also given the unique opportunity to hear from John Weiss, the President of Wells Fargo Securities. A large portion of the discussion from the panel and Mr. Weiss focused on the culture of Wells Fargo as a bank, as well as the ongoing transition of the bank as it becomes one of the fastest growing investment banks on the street. The analysts spoke about their experiences working in a collaborative environment while at Wells Fargo.
Next up was a stop at Fred Alger Asset Management. Kevin Collins, Client Portfolio Manager, and Dan Chung, CEO/CIO, hosted the group. Mr. Collins gave the group an overview of the firm’s overarching goals and strategies that focused on growth investing. Dan Chung spoke to the group about the firm’s history and the roles and responsibilities that he has acquired as CEO and as a junior team member.
Following Fred Alger, the team visited Millstein, a boutique restructuring bank. The group was hosted by Associates Matt Schneidemann and Noah Kaswell and Analysts Samuel Breuer, Josh Mendelsohn, Quinn Lawlor, and Josh Chmara. The team talked about the nature of restructuring and how it differs from conventional investment banking. They explained their various career paths and choices that led them to a career in the restructuring world. In addition, the group talked about a few deals they worked on both in the public and private sectors.
Finally, the group ventured to Google in Chelsea Park for the last visit of the trip. We were hosted by Tina Daniels ’93, a Director of Agency Business Development; Jackie Rosen in the Agency Business Development Division; and Thomas Graham who works on the Data Analytics, Agency Business Development Team. Tina and Jackie spoke about their careers and how they ended up in their current positions. They also gave the group an overview of where the advertising technology market is heading in the next couple of years. Thomas, who had previously worked in the financial world prior to joining Google, spoke about his responsibilities at Google and the different career opportunities investment banking had provided him with after his analyst years.
The 2016 New York Networking Trip was a phenomenal success. Many of the students spent their final day in the city scheduling coffee chats with individuals that they had spoken to during the trip. Given the large number of sophomores on the trip, interview opportunities were scarce, but the connections and relationships built with the many companies visited will serve as an invaluable resource to those interested in working in New York City or the financial services more generally.
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.