13 years ago
Richard-Michael Manuel

Armed with resumes and business suits, 25 UTD students took New York by storm. From Aug. 4-11, members of the Financial Management Association (FMA) gained hands-on experience in the world of finance.

New Yorkers working in the fields of management and finance responded to numerous questions from the FMA members, who were able to attend the seven-day event, according to FMA members.

The students learned about business applications, concepts, corporate culture and the “Big Apple.”

George Li, graduate student in Finance, said he enjoyed seeing how financial theories are applied in industry.

“Portfolio Management is a concept you can’t just study,” Li said. “We got a chance to see how institutional investors construct portfolios and execute block trades on a practical level.”

Kamolson Anuwutnavin, graduate MBA student, said many of the concepts discussed in class had become even clearer to him.

Labranche & Co, Inc., Investment Technology Group, Inc., New York Mercantile Exchange and JP Morgan Chase & Co. gave detailed presentations about how the companies worked.

“I was very impressed such high-level presenters were made available to us,” Anuwutnavin said.

Wilber Huang, graduate MBA student, said the work atmosphere was intrinsically different from one company to the next.

While some were quiet and serious, others were outgoing and fun-loving, Huang said.

“Bloomberg’s ‘flat environment’ encourages an active community,” Huang said. “They don’t even want you to go to the same department. They want you to meet people from other departments.”

Nidal Abed, graduate MBA student, was amazed at the hospitality of New Yorkers. Abed said the street life and friendly people reminded him of what it was like to be home in Gaza City, Palestine. However, he said that the enormity and wealth of New York made it otherwise incomparable to his homeland.

Native Dallasite John Sellers, senior in business administration, found the city equally overwhelming.

“It changed my perspective,” Sellers said. “I didn’t know so many people could live in one city. I’ve been to other parts of the world, but I’ve never been to a city where I felt so small.”

Getting the 25 students to and from the 10 locations in such a short span of time took lots of planning and phone calls, according to FMA President and graduate MBA student Houston Yuen.

Yuen said the scheduling was the most important aspect of the trip.

“We made calls and e-mails to 30-50 different companies and visited 10 companies in 11 locations.”

Marry Viliunny, graduate MBA student and FMA’s vice president of internal affairs, arranged the Morgan Stanley visit.

“I went through a lot of different steps. I almost gave up,” Viliunny said. “We only had a short time to put it together, but with teamwork we were able to get it all together. It was really fun.”

Homeland Security’s orange alert level forced the cancellation of trips to the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Members expressed disappointment, but there’s always next year.

FMA officers said they look forward to the trip becoming a tradition.

“As far as I know, this is the first time UTD students have taken this type of trip,” said Hasan Pirkul, dean of the School of Management.

Pirkul characterized the trip as an important part of the learning experience, citing educational and networking benefits. The School of Management granted $2,000 to help the club.

Created in January 2003, FMA is one of the approximately 130 student clubs currently active on campus.

FMA International was established in 1970 to develop a continuing relationship between finance practitioners and academicians and to facilitate the transfer of ideas, techniques and advances in the field of finance between universities, businesses and other institutions.