Tag: GMF

Friday, May 19 marked the fifth and final day of our stay in New York City. We first went to Goldman Sachs and had a great time with the speakers from risk management department. The first speaker has worked at Goldman Sachs for three decades and also happens to be a graduate of WashU’s School of Engineering. He shared his career path with us and how he finally found his passion for risk management. The best advice he gave us is to keep learning specific skills in school and thinking about how to apply our knowledge to work. Even though the practical world is different than the theoretical world, the knowledge we learn in school is the foundation of our future work, and when technologies change fast, the foundation does not change. Also, when asked for advice about interviewing, he emphasized the importance of being honest about what you know and what you don’t know, and showing your willingness to learn.

Next, two younger analysts from the risk management office had a Q&A time with us. One of them just joined the team last year, so she had many recent experiences that we were curious about. Many students asked questions about how to prepare for the interviews and what kind of skills Goldman Sachs required. They also talked about the normal day-to-day work and the training program that Goldman Sachs provides.

In the afternoon, we headed to another asset management heavyweight on the street, Neuberger Berman, one of the largest independent, employee-owned investment management firms.

After stepping into the fantastic meeting room, holding a nice drink, and enjoying a magnificent bird’s eye view of the New York skyline and Central Park, we understood the reason that Neuberger Berman is consistently ranked as the company with highest employee satisfaction.

Three senior VP-level speakers shared with us great lessons from their areas of expertise. The head of strategy shared his investment thesis in frontier markets, equity markets, and commodity markets. He also shared his idea of opportunities on investing in fundamentals globally and the trend of macro economics. He frequently discusses these topics with extremely high ranking officials, such as finance ministers of foreign nations.

The head of municipal bonds shared impressive knowledge on municipal bond pricing, valuation, trading strategy, and wisely linked back to dynamics of US municipality financial operation and the challenges and risks they face. Real case studies on Puerto Rico and Detroit gave international students great exposure to the current US public finance system.

The head of corporate finance explained his strategy in dealing with the global corporate system of Neuberger in tax planning, corporate governing, structure optimization, and company controlling. He shared his personal story and career path, which was very interesting for students like us who want to be a CFO of a leading financial institute with a global footprint.

We concluded our New York immersion course with a guided tour of Wall Street. Our guide was a welcoming gentleman, who used to work as a trader in the New York Stock Exchange. While we were walking along the street, we got to know the history of Wall Street, the market, and its participants. We also visited all the famous buildings on the street and heard great stories from years gone by.

The tour ended at the new World Trade Center (pcitured at left), which stands across from the 9/11 monument. While fascinated by the new tower’s beauty, we began to ruminate on the value of peace for society.


Guest Bloggers: Sihao (Henry) Feng, Ye Qu, Yilin Wu, Jiaqi (Jack) Yang (GMF 2017)

This is a series of blogs chronicling the experiences of 42 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience. Names of speakers and presenters at firms are anonymous at the request of the firms and course organizers.

We started the day of May 18 by visiting Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), one of the oldest private equity investment firms in the world. Walking on the street, we can sense the passion and energy that embrace the morning of New York City.

Founded in 1978, CD&R today manages investments of approximately $17 billion in 52 businesses. Approximately sixty percent of CD&R’s transactions have involved corporate divestitures.

During the session, one practitioner shared insightful market views of the pharmaceutical industry with us, such as the recent market momentum, how to locate companies conformed to their investment thesis, and how to quantify the risk involved. Additionally, three young associates also shared their valuable career experience with us, such as how they found their passion, how to learn a completely unfamiliar industry or product, and how to develop their own market perception. During this presentation, we had a very unique experience to visit a world-leading PE firm and interact with senior practitioners. It did inspire us a lot, from the big picture of PE industry to the details such as how to make a good deal.

After lunch and a short rest, we visited the headquarters of JPMorgan Chase & Co. We spent almost a whole afternoon in this exquisite building, where trillions of assets are under management. The office floor of JPMorgan Chase & Co. is very elegant, with several works of art decorating the hallway, making us feel professional and at the same time artistic.

JP Morgan's building in New York City

During the visit, we had a lot of insightful conversations with staff members from different divisions, as well as several educational lectures provided by JP Morgan staff.

All of the lecturers and hosts were very professional, and we could feel that they were full of passion for their jobs. They were generous to share their personal market perspective with us, answering our questions comprehensively and thoroughly. Based on some fundamental knowledge we have learned in our courses, the lecturers expanded on the applications of concepts, and how the real world operates.

JP Morgan left us with an extraordinary impression of its awareness of global trends, understanding of the market, and its rigorous and advanced strategies of investment. In this visit, we not only learned how financial markets run in reality, but also got a sense of how to build our career paths toward financial experts and how to build our own view to the markets around the globe.

We concluded the day by returning to our hotel on the same street, but we are more certain about our future.

Guest Bloggers: Wan Syuan (Susan) Chen, Shuhuan (Alice) Fu, Shuangqing (Sean) Wang, Guanhao (Jeffrey) Zeng (GMF 2017)

This is a series of blogs chronicling the experiences of 42 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience. Names of speakers and presenters at firms are anonymous at the request of the firms and course organizers.

We were fortunate enough to begin the morning of May 17 with a speaker from Waterfall Asset Management–the visit had been rescheduled from Monday. The incident that had occurred on Monday was able to serve as an interesting case study of sorts for us. Our speaker had placed a bid for a product, but his bid had been only the second- highest submitted. He explained to us both the positive and negative lessons to be learned from this incident. The first lesson is that, in certain instances, being second best only signifies that one is the best loser. He did clarify, however, that this does not always hold true. To paraphrase him, the person who graduates last from medical school is still referred to as “Doctor.” The second lesson is that it is sometimes advantageous to lose. The entity that had outbid him for the product had done so by a wide margin. As this was the case, the entity should probably reassess the risk profile of the product that they purchased. As no other entity thought it was even close to the value as they did, it is probably riskier and worth less than what was paid for it.

Most importantly, we learned about the mindset that finance professionals should approach their careers with. The speaker stressed the significance of humility and gratitude and how those virtues remain the guiding lights that have allowed him to achieve both great professional and personal success. It was inspiring to see that there truly are those who maintain such strong moral fiber in a profession which is so often (and sometimes falsely) accused of being bankrupt.

Finance professionals rely on objective and timely information to make significant investment decisions in their business. We were honored to hear from a journalist from The Wall Street Journal, the most popular and probably most profitable newspaper in the finance field, that virtually every successful professional reads every day. The speaker introduced to us how the Journal gathers all kinds of resources to form an objective and independent reporting about the market to inform the world of finance.

In the afternoon, we departed for the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Wall Street, and there we had an insightful tour of not only the history of Federal Reserve System, but also its structure and functionality as the central banking system of the United States. Essentially, the Federal Reserve System, founded in 1913, is created to tackle the issues of financial panics. The system is composed of twelve regional banks located in a variety of cities in the U.S., such as St. Louis, Cleveland, New York, and so forth. When the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System along with the 12 presidents of regional federal reserve banks have decided to act on certain mutually agreed monetary policies, the New York Federal Reserve Bank will take the lead in carrying out the monetary policy implementation with all other Federal Reserve Banks.

What’s noteworthy is that the term length of all board members on Federal Reserve Board of Governors is set out to be a staggering 14 years, which is designed to promote independence of the board’s decision making process without being influenced by higher powers of authority.

Since the crisis of 2007, the Federal Reserve has been more conservative in loosening money supply. As time passes, the objectives of the Federal Reserve System appear to have shifted from preventing financial panic to promoting social stability by stabilizing the inflation rate and maintaining a natural unemployment level. This shift in functionality of the Federal Reserve System is enforced by open market operation, that is, buying and selling of government issued bonds in the open market to control the amount of money in circulation. In addition to OMO, Federal Reserve Banks can adjust policy rate/reserve rate and the interbank interest rate.

The main building of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 33 Liberty St., was designed by the architects York and Sawyer. The stones are Indiana limestone and Ohio sandstone. The building’s lowest floor is 50 feet below sea level.

A tour of the New York Federal Reserve Bank has provided us a different perspective on how we ought to look at the function of Federal Reserve as well as its monetary policy.

Later in the afternoon, we visited the Museum of American Finance, which features exhibits on the financial markets, currencies, banking history, and more. It unfolds the development of the market from different perspectives through diverse exhibitions.

For example, there’s a collection of used forms of currency and payment instruments, from coins to point-of-sale (POS) machines and Square magnetic stripe readers. The history of coins extends from antiquity to the present and has witnessed the ups and downs of economic history. Additionally, the new forms of payment methods such as the Square reader has carried more convenience into daily businesses, and it reflects the transformation that advanced technology and innovation have brought in recent decades.

We also saw the exhibition of high currency notes. Money serves as a medium of exchange and has value embedded. Therefore, turbulence in politics and economics could be reflected in unusual currencies such as inflationary currency. For instance, the Federal Reserve issued $100,000 gold certificates in 1934 in the aftermath of World War II.

Moreover, there are photographs showing the old exchange floor and the booth that was used before the implementation of the electronic trading system. However, no matter how the trading system has been upgraded, the passion and energy on Wall Street has never changed, and will continue to play an important role in American and global finance.

At nightfall, we gathered around on the 27th floor Terrace, chatting with each other and appreciating the view of flourishing New York. During the event, many exquisite dishes and drinks were provided and everyone enjoyed themselves. Among those in attendance were WashU alumni who are financial industry talents who shared plenty of valuable career advice and their work experience with us. It was great to have a roof top talk with alums of all ages today.

One alumna with whom we networked today got both her undergraduate and master’s degrees from WashU. She was a former Ernst & Young consultant and is now in a 15-year-old startup consulting firm based in New York City. Talking to her was rewarding. She generously shared information about consulting careers and her daily work content. Learning new knowledge efficiently and fast is one of the core qualities of being a consultant, and researching and knowing clients’ industries are a very important step of showing respect and professionalism to the clients. She also offered a job opportunity from the company in which she is currently working. However, she responsibly stressed that any of us who wants to apply for this job must be truly interested in a career in consulting instead of treating it as a stepping stone to other careers. Most of us had a great time at this event, and it was honorable for us to meet the alumni and learn from them.

Guest Bloggers: Jingyi Duan, Sheng Jin, Jie Tang, Lingfeng Zhu (GMF 2017)

This is a series of blogs chronicling the experiences of 42 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience. Names of speakers and presenters at firms are anonymous at the request of the firms and course organizers.

We began the day of May 16 at 8am, gathering in the Cornell Conference room. After enjoying a hearty breakfast, we and our classmates prepared ourselves for a day of hardcore learning.

Our first guest lecturer for the day was from Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev). The speaker began his presentation by briefly introducing the history of AB InBev and the beer industry. He differentiated the beer industry into three different tiers: brewers, wholesalers, and retailers, and focused the rest of his speech on the role of a wholesaler. We were all interested in the recent large merger deal by the company: in 2015, Anheuser-Busch Inbev executed the largest-ever beer deal, a $107 billion takeover of SABMiller, with a record $75 billion syndicated loan–the largest commercial loan in the history of the global loan markets. We then learned more about the deal and explained the reasons behind the highly leveraged deal structure.

After opening questions to the floor, our class discussed and explored probable problems that AB InBev may face in the future. For example, due to regulations within certain states in the US, AB InBev may not be allowed to further increase its market share through acquisition deals or expand its value chain through vertical integration. Using his experience at AB InBev, the speaker was able to effectively demonstrate the difference between strategic and financial buyers in acquisition deals; more focus is placed on the identification and realization of business synergies.

Our second speaker for the day was a representative from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The Port Authority is a self-sustaining entity that builds, operates, and maintains critical public transportation and infrastructure.

The speaker began his presentation by showing us a graph depicting the recent breakdown in correlation between distance traveled by automobile and the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This demonstrated the inherent uncertainty in public infrastructure investment projects–such as whether heavy investments in expensive projects should be underutilized or rendered obsolete within a short period of time due to divergence from historical correlation, perhaps due to disruptive technology.

Continuing on the auto traffic situation in New York as a case study, the speaker discussed certain factors, such as behavioral and demographic trends, that should be considered and included within an econometric model. Lastly, he finished his conclusions by showing us his future predictions for auto traffic trends in New York and New Jersey. A warning was included in his conclusion: econometric models tend to be based on historical information, and actual outcomes may deviate from model projections due to regime changes, so analysts must be careful when interpreting results from such models.  The presentation was very informative and gave us a glimpse of the difficulties faced when planning public infrastructure investment projects, especially for metropolitan cities like New York.

Our next speaker was from Hillview Capital Advisors LLC. Hillview Capital Advisors is a premier provider of financial advisory services to high net worth individuals, their families, and foundations. We learned about the role that boutique financial advisory firms, such as Hillview Capital Advisors, play within the finance and private wealth management industry. The company aligns its interest with that of its clients by adopting a compensation structure based on assets under management (AUM) instead of through deal commissions. By acting as an independent investment advisor to their clients, Hillview Capital assists their clients to better meet their investment objectives, subjected to their unique background and circumstance, by optimizing their portfolio asset allocation. The presentation included a period of discussion between the speaker and students regarding the rise of robo-advisors and how the private wealth investment advisory industry can retain its relevance in the future.

The presentation was both entertaining and enriching; we were able to learn more about the private wealth management industry as well as the possible near term challenges it may face due to the rise of Financial Tech (Fin Tech).

After finishing the three presentations in the morning, we stopped for a short lunch break to replenish our energy and consolidate the lessons we had learned. We then made our way to the New York headquarters of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global.

S&P Global is the parent company for S&P Global Ratings, S&P Global Market Intelligence, and S&P Global Platts. S&P is most well-known for its independent investment research and it is the largest and most well-known ratings agency in the world. The presentation at the firm was done by four directors in different departments, and the content covered was mostly focused on the corporate credit ratings area.

After briefly introducing the background and history of S&P Global, the directors walked us through the corporate credit rating issuance process. Subsequently, the students engaged in a lively discussion with the directors on a wide range of topics, including the role played by credit rating agencies in the global financial crisis, the steps taken to improve operational processes since then, the ways to determine the willingness of issuers to meet their debt obligations when they have the ability to do so, and how the apparent conflict of interest from issuer-paid ratings is mitigated/controlled. The presentation was very insightful and students were able to better understand the analysis and due diligence required when issuing corporate credit ratings.

Jason Wang, BSBA’09

Lastly, following the conclusion of the S&P Global presentation, we made our way to the main branch of Xi’an Famous Food, located on 34th street and Madison Avenue, for our final presentation of the day. The founder of Xi’an Famous Food, Jason Wang, is an alumnus of Olin Business School, BSBA’09. Upon completing his undergraduate studies at WashU, Jason joined his father to help grow the family restaurant business.

During our visit to the main branch of Xi’an Famous Food, Jason was very hospitable and he provided food and drinks to everyone. After ensuring that everyone was comfortable, he shared his experience as an entrepreneur and the difficulties he faced when growing his business. The courage, conviction, and resilience that he has demonstrated thus far in his entrepreneurial journey is exemplary. The most memorable advice he shared is that when running a business, an entrepreneur should never let himself do everything; it is equally important to learn how to trust and delegate important tasks to other people.

All in all, we covered a wide range of subjects and topic areas today. We had a great learning experience and we look forward to even more learning opportunities over the next few days.

Guest Bloggers: Tiantian Hao, Renjun Li, Chenyu Wu, Ming Da Zhuang (GMF 2017)

This is a series of blogs chronicling the experiences of 42 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience. Names of speakers and presenters at firms are anonymous at the request of the firms and course organizers.

The first morning meeting on May 15 was at Warburg Pincus. Warburg Pincus is one of the top quartile Private Equity (PE) firms, whose value added is mainly from the growth of companies in which it invests. Firstly, he introduced the fundamentals of private equity. Basically, there are three stages of PE firms, which are venture capital, growth/development, and late stage. Warburg Pincus mainly invests in the growth stage. The return of PE is always from two factors—high leverage and fees. Additionally, as the industry becomes mature, the market is more and more specialized. By working for the whole portfolio’s good rather than the sector’s own benefit, Warburg Pincus manages to offset the disadvantage of specialization.

The second speaker was from Lepercq De Neuflize & Co. He started the presentation with a general introduction of the financial market and a quick survey about potential job positions among students. As finding a job is the very first thing after graduation, he quickly drew our attention. He then introduced two kinds of people: ones who are smart, and ones who have relationships. Focusing on these two kinds of people, he proceeded with lessons that are important all long a career path, and challenges that these people may face in the future. Also, he answered questions concerning career paths, and pointed out possible ways to get the dream job. Corporate treasury, though few of us considered it as a target job during the survey, became a new choice for us after the presentation. The speaker emphasized the importance of getting to know the industry sector and corporate treasury can provide experience and insights if you cannot find a better way.

The last speaker was Professor Steve Wood from Seton Hall University. He introduced public finance investment banking to us. He began with Simon Sinek’s simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?,” Steve encouraged us to find the root of a problem and think deeply. Firstly, we learned about the four borders of business, which are national laws, ethical moral standards, international law, and business best practices. Then we compared different attitudes about social contracts through the movie The Godfather. When it comes to national power and corporate power, we concluded that today’s global companies are super citizens by analyzing HNA Group.

Next, Steve shared a typical case with us: the City of Flint, Michigan’s Water Crisis. In April 2014, Flint decided to change its water source from Detroit to the Flint River to decrease government financial expense. However, the water contamination of the Flint River caused serious health issues for Flint residents. Officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to the water. As a result, there was a series of problems that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger.

Finally, we discussed who was to blame in this event and discussed the many lessons we learned from this case. Actually, the root of this problem is that the structure of city-state-federal can cause overlapping and disjointed jurisdictions. The implementation problem made Flint residents have to suffer the pain of diseases caused by polluted water until recently, which reminded us of the great importance of public finance management.

Guest Bloggers: Siwei Chen, Mohan Hong, Chenyi Xu, Mengdi Zhang (GMF 2017)

This is a series of blogs chronicling the experiences of 42 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience.

New students in the Specialized Masters Programs (SMP) are already on campus and starting classes after a busy week of Orientation.  To familiarize students with Olin, WashU, St. Louis, and all they have to offer, we had many presentations, tours, and social events. We hope our global group of new SMPs enjoy getting to know their new classmates and begin to build life-long friendships as part of the Olin family.

SMP at a glance:

  • Olin received 2,702 applications to the SMP programs. A total of 220 students are enrolled this semester.
  • Students represent 13 countries: Bolivia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States.
  • 138 different undergraduate schools are represented.
  • 17 students from WUSTL
  • Undergraduate majors include: Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, International Business, Management, Marketing, MIS, Operations Manufacturing Management, Economics, Engineering (Bio Med, Chemical, Civil, Computer Science, Electrical, General, Industrial, Marine Transportation, Mechanical), English Literature, Philosophy, Science (Biochem, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Neurobiology, Physics), Social Science (Asian Studies, Foreign Languages, German, Journalism, Political Science, Architecture)

Programs offered at Olin followed by number of students enrolled this semester:

  • Global Master of Finance , GMF 43
  • Master of Accounting, MACC 54
  • Master of Science in Customer Analytics,  MSCA 32
  • Master of Science in Finance, Quant track: MSFQ 37; Corporate track: MSFC 34
  • Master of Science in Supply Chain Management,  MSSCM 20

For more information about our programs visit the Olin website.