Students use trading floor for Wall Street Prep

G Street is more than 220 miles away from Wall Street, but the Finance and Investment Club is bringing America’s financial capital to the School of Business at Duques Hall and is gaining prominence along the way.

This year the club saw its membership double, due in part to programs such as an upcoming November workshop called Wall Street Prep, which will “bridge the gap between academic finance and practitioner finance,” FIC President Marc Held said.

“This program teaches topics in a real-life Wall Street setting,” said Held, a senior. “It is an intensive and strenuous program.”

The program involves a two-day workshop to take place on Nov. 10 and 11. On the first day, participants learn how to project financial statements over a period of time using computer programs such as Microsoft Excel, Held said. The second day focuses on an “evaluation crash course,” which covers popular models of valuing companies, he said.

“The sessions will help bridge the gap between academics and the real world and will provide students with the hands-on practice they will need to land a job on Wall Street,” said Gilbert Yancey, executive director of the F. David Fowler Career Center at GW, who has worked with FIC on several events and career related activities.

Held said investment banks are making a strong presence on GW’s campus. This year, U.S. News and World Report ranked GW No. 41 for best undergraduate business program in the nation.

Scott Brennan, senior vice president at Lehman Brothers and a GW alumnus, said there are more than 100 GW alumni who work at the New York-based investment banking firm.

“We are able to source hard-working, diligent and well-balanced candidates who quickly add value to our firm,” Brennan said. “This speaks volumes to the quality of education and diversity of the student body at GWU.”

Brennan said GW graduates work in the same programs at Lehman Brothers as alumni from prestigious business schools such as the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.

“At Lehman Brothers, we look for outstanding qualities and competencies in all our recruits,” he said. “It is these qualities and competencies that get you hired – not the school that you attend.”

During the Wall Street Prep program, the FIC will utilize the new trading floor in the School of Business.

The mock trading floor, which has more than 30 personal workstations with the archetypical three-screen set-up, opened in the spring of 2006, with funds donated by George W. Wellde, a 1976 graduate of the School of Business.

“It’s a great resource,” Held said. “It provides a great setting for students to learn about capital markets.”

Brennan said the trading floor and programs such as Wall Street Prep are good supplemental tools for GW students looking to compete in the business world.

“Wall Street Prep and the School of Business trading floor introduce the students to real-life experience while still in an academic surrounding,” he said. “Anything the University can do in order to give students more real-life experience is beneficial. Part of the adjustment when joining an investment bank is getting used to the environment and industry jargon.”

Yancey said experience in the trading floor is essential for students looking to enter the business world.

“The trading floor is a necessary element,” Yancey said. “It helps the students with the transition from classroom theory to the use of real-world tools.”

Recently, FIC has put on a number of other events, including their “Day in the Life” series and several panel discussions on topics ranging from stagflation to private equity.

The FIC has also hosted guest speakers, including Sergio Saichen, vice president of Supply Chain Finance at JPMorgan Chase, and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Yancey said, “We have also created forums where students who have had successful internships with Wall Street companies share their experience with prospective interns to help them prepare for the interview.”

Quentin Cantu and Simone Perez contributed to this report.

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