Eugene, Oregon, may be thousands of miles from New York City's financial district, but that didn't stop students specializing in finance from experiencing it for themselves. In fact, hands-on learning opportunities—including study tours like these to industry centers around the world—are at the core of the University of Oregon's graduate programs. These trips give students a chance to interact with the best of the best in the industry, experience different cultures, and witness real-world applications of curriculum material.
To kick off winter term, students pursuing graduate degrees in finance, including a specialized MBA or master of science in finance (MSF), journeyed across the country to the Big Apple. An impressive itinerary jam-packed with meetings kept our students busy during the week at such finance and securities companies as Barclays, Galaxy Digital, 22v Asset Management, and Bloomberg.
"Listening to the advice from seasoned Wall Street professionals and networking with them is something not a lot of people have the chance to do," remarked Alejandro Hernandez Bustamante, who is enrolled in UO's MSF program. "The firms we visited were eager to share insights and advice on how to break into the financial industry and be successful in it."
While every visit proved valuable to our eager students, some moments stuck out above the rest. Seeing Wall Street for the first time and witnessing the New York Stock Exchange in action are memories they'll fondly remember. Then, there's the conversation with entrepreneur and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg himself, who carved out a few minutes in his day to share his perspective—and snap a photo with students!
In just one week, students gathered knowledge and advice from notable names in the finance world that will stay with them throughout the rest of their academic journey and beyond.
"During our time at Cantor & Fitzgerald, I was speaking with company representative Matthew Gilbert, who had just given a fantastic speech on his success in the financial industry," MSF student Sam Graf remembered. "I'll never forget what he said: ‘You won't make it off the ground if you never take the first step.' Sometimes a small push in the right direction is just what we need to see incredible results down the road."
When they weren't spending time networking with leaders in the industry, the students made the most of their time in the city—exploring different neighborhoods, grabbing a slice of New York pizza, and ice skating at Central Park.
"Each business visit was full of advice that I'm still unpacking and processing, while New York City itself was beautiful and magical," said Christina Green, an MSF student.
Overall, hands-on learning experiences like this one give our MBA and MSF students a chance to see first-hand how finance concepts and analysis are applied in the real world. In 2022, finance students visited New York, Paris, and London.
"The trip to New York is a truly transformational opportunity for our students," said John Chalmers, head of the Department of Finance at the University of Oregon. "In many cases, students are able to see where their interests fit, and equally important, where they do not. It is one of my great privileges to have a window seat to witness our students' realizations of the vast opportunities that await them."
"Experiential trips help to enrich our experiences as graduate students. They open doors for career opportunities and allow us to better grasp how the concepts we are learning in the classroom will be applicable in the world of work," stated MSF student Celene Bassaw.
As graduation in June nears, this group of students is looking forward to taking the next step in their careers, but they will fondly look back on experiences like their visit to the Big Apple and their time as Ducks.
"The amount of support and guidance I have received during my time at UO has been more than I could've imagined," Graf said. "The staff in the finance department are incredibly experienced and are eager to delve into fundamental insights that we explore in the classroom—and beyond."
Thank you to the following companies for hosting our graduate finance students during their 2023 winter-term study tour:
- 22v Asset Management and Research
- 9 Yards Capital
- BMO Capital Markets
- Cantor Fitzgerald
- Galaxy Digital
—Makenzie Fancher, MBA ’23