CULLOWHEE -- Western Carolina University's College of Business recently sponsored a field trip to the Wall Street financial district to give business students an in-depth, first-hand look at New York's financial service industry.
"This trip provides a unique and invaluable insight into how Wall Street functions," said WCU finance professor Grace Allen. "My students come away from this trip actually believing everything I have been teaching them, in a way they couldn't fully appreciate in the classroom." Fifteen students and five faculty members participated.
"Although Charlotte has displaced New York as the nation's center for domestic banking, there are still many financial service activities that center on Wall Street, especially international and investment banking, bond trading, and brokerage activities," said WCU economics professor Robert F. Mulligan. "If you want your students to see these things first hand, you have to take them to New York."
The group visited the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) at the World Financial Center, which specializes in fuel and agricultural commodities.
"We saw traders running around, gesturing frantically to buy or sell contracts, generally displaying a high energy level," said financial planning senior Pete Eich. "It was easy to understand why floor traders tend to be highly aggressive, alpha-male types, and why so many experience career burn-out."
The students next visited the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street, where NYSE director of education Murray Titelbaum explained how the brokers value, buy and sell shares of stock in corporations.
"We were all struck by how much more relaxed the NYSE trading floor was compared the NYMEX, even though it handles over a billion shares on a slow trading day," said marketing major Harjit Sandhu.
The group also visited the Investment Management Division of J.P. Morgan, where vice president James H. Russo explained different strategies the bank follows to address different clients' financial needs, and Salomon Smith Barney, where national vice president for sales Lee Degenstein described the firm's brokerage business.
Students who participated were Dustin Alsop (financial planning), Cornelius; Samantha Briatico (financial planning), Cleveland, Tenn.; Shannon Canter (corporate finance), Mocksville; Stacy Cappel (marketing), Kernersville; Pete Eich (financial planning), Charlotte; Jessica Gross (corporate finance), Cullowhee; Amber Head (financial planning and accounting), Highland, Ill.; Holger Hebenstreit ( MBA candidate), Ludvigshafen, Germany; Shawn Moore (computer information systems), Fletcher; Jason Morton (financial planning), Roanoke Rapids; Nicole Root (corporate finance), Globe, Ariz.; Harjit Sandhu (marketing), Birmingham, United Kingdom; Matt Sorrells (corporate finance), Canton; Bridget Tyson (financial planning and accounting), Clyde; and Dustin Watson (financial planning), Cashiers.
Participating faculty included professors Grace Allen (finance), Balsam; Robert F. Mulligan (economics) Cullowhee; Susan Swanger (accounting), Clyde; Beth Jones (accounting), Cullowhee; and Rita Noel (computer information systems), Cullowhee.