By Jade Tantidilokkul
Professor John Mathis accompanied 17 Thunderbird Students on a Winterim journey to Wall Street in New York City as part of their Thunderbird Global Experience (TGE). Winterim on Wall Street is a ten day program packed with a series of company visits, topics discussions, and executive management meet-ups. The program provides an opportunity for Finance-majored students to meet and discuss with senior executives of major financial institutions, learn from first hand experience, and understand the dynamics of financial markets amidst the recovery after a deep global financial crisis.
Over the ten-day period, we sat in approximately 40 sessions and listened to more than 60 speakers, half of which were Thunderbird alumni. They shared their experiences, career paths, and journeys after graduating from Thunderbird, and more importantly, gave us advice on how to land a finance job in the midst of the crisis recovery. Examples of financial institutions that we visited were Citi, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Merrill Lynch, AIG, American Express, etc. The discussion topics cover the entire spectrum of financial products and services, e.g. private equity, wealth management, risk management, commodities, hedge fund, project finance, etc.
In addition to major company visits, we had an opportunity to visit the New York Stock Exchange and go down to the trading floor, where all the transactions take place. Traders spent about half an hour with us explaining how transactions are carried out and how technology helps to make the process much more efficient. During the program, we also visited the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where we were taken on a tour underground to the gold vault, where gold bars owned by various governments and international agencies, were stored.
It was a great opportunity and an eye-opening experience to learn so much and meet many successful individuals in such as short period of time. This program has truly broadened our horizons. Let’s hear from some participants about their experience on the Winterim on Wall Street:
“Sitting in Glendale, it is hard to gauge the strength of our alumni community, the Thunderbird brand, and what sort of opportunities exist in the real world. The Wall Street Winterim put everything into perspective by bringing us to the midst of the action in New York City.” – Jesse Moore
“Basel III, Volcker Rule, Dodd-Frank were the three most spoken phrases in our 2 weeks in New York. The finance community expressed their very real concerns about the future of regulation in America, and it was amazing to hear it first hand. The Winterim was a great opportunity to meet individuals from all aspects of finance and learn about what they do and how they got to where they are today.” – Alexandra Avetian
“The Wall Street Winterim gave an incredible exposure to different facets of the financial ecosystem. From hedge fund to project finance the Winterim helps gain perspective from the different players on the street. Investment Banks, NYSE, Federal Reserve Bank of NY, Finance Journal Editors, Funds Managers, Private Equity Partners, Foreign Banks, Finance Consultation and Entrepreneurial ventures compose the action packed 2 weeks in the NYC. This was truly an experience of a lifetime.” – Ashish Yadav
“After talking with alumni and guest speakers, I had a better understanding of different functions within finance. From how to raise money for a big film company to a one-person shop providing hedge fund consulting service, from leverage finance function in a top investment bank to PE companies investing across continents, and from risk management teams in a commercial bank to the Federal Reserve Bank attempting to regulate the market. It was the Wall Street Winterim that brought me back to the real business world and equipped me with a better idea of what I could and should do.” – Wenjie Bi