One of the great opportunities that we have here at Fisher for those interested in a Career on Wall Street is the Fisher Wall Street Trip. During this trip we had the opportunity to meet with alumni and friends of Fisher at most all the major Wall Street Banks. We had the chance to meet with individuals from the following firms:
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
KeyBanc Capital Markets
Vertical Research Partners
During these office visits we had the opportunity to talk with a wide variety of people from the analyst level, up to managing director. This was a great opportunity to ask questions regarding the firms and investment banking in general and was very informative to those who did not know as much about the field. In addition to the office visits, the office of career management also set up two dinners that gave us the opportunity to network and interact with alumni of Fisher in a more informal environment. This was a great opportunity to speak with alumni in the industry about their experiences and journey from Ohio to New York City. Overall, this was a great opportunity that I would highly recommend to any future SMF student interested in a career on Wall Street.
Here at Fisher there are plenty of opportunities to get out and do things other than schoolwork and studying. I am a very active person and as such have taken advantage of the many physical activity programs that are available at Ohio State.
Intramural Football – Fisher put together a co-ed flag football team that was comprised of people from a variety of programs. It allowed me and a few of the other SMFs to meet some of the individuals in the other Fisher programs. Football was a good chance to get out on the weekends and get some physical activity while in a fun, competitive environment.
Club Swimming – I was an NCAA Swimmer in undergrad at the University of South Carolina so I am always looking for ways to continue to stay in shape and Club Swimming is one of the best opportunities that I have found. We practice a few times a week and then swim a few meets a semester against other colleges in the area and it is a great chance to not only do a little training but also get up and race every few weeks.
Recreation Facilities – Ohio State offers some of the best on-campus recreation facilities in the country with the RPAC, Jesse Owens North, and Jesse Owens South all within a few minute walk of Fisher. The RPAC is the flagship of the rec department and is one of the largest collegiate rec centers in the country. They offer over a dozen basketball courts, a massive weight room, hundreds of pieces of cardio equipment, an indoor track, as well as one of the nicest aquatic facilities in the country. It is very convenient to Fisher and is just a 5 minute walk into campus and is a great place to grab a quick workout in between classes or to break up a long study period.
As we begin to wrap up the first of our seven week sessions, our first set of SMF classes is coming to a close. These classes are imperative to success in the program as they provide the foundation for many of the other classes that we will take. For those students without a finance background they also give them the opportunity to learn many of the basic financial concepts and theories. During the first 7 weeks all members of the program have taken the same four classes: Turbo Finance, Financial Modeling, Industry Risk and Pricing, and Data Analysis.
Turbo Finance: This class is taught by the SMF program director, Dr. George Pinteris, and as its name suggests, provides a full overview of the many financial theories and concepts that are necessary for success in a rigorous program such as the SMF. This course covers a set of fundamental techniques for financial analysis. In this class we have examines the investment decision in detail looking at both the NPV and IRR of projects to determine their viability. We have also spent a third of the class on valuation analysis looking at both the multiples and DCF methods. The third key focus of this course is financial statement analysis and we will focus on using a set of tools and methods to analyze companies and sectors. This class also involves a company report where we will apply all of the techniques that we have learned in the class to analyze a particular company. In my case we are working on an analysis of FedEx.
Financial Modeling: This class is taught by Professor Daniel Oglevee, a former Wall Street Professional with a great deal of experience in financial modeling from his time in the private sector. In this class we have constructed dozens of models that could be applied in our future jobs from NPV analysis to forecasting financial statements. This class serves as one of the foundations for the program because the skills learned will be used in every other class we take. In addition, in almost any job in the business world, knowledge of Microsoft Excel and financial modeling are extremely important and employers actively seek candidates with these skills.
Industry Risk and Pricing: This class is taught by Dr. Michael Brandl, and provides an overview of applied microeconomics. What sets this class apart from many other economic courses I have taken is not only Professor Brandl’s enthusiasm for the subject, but also the application of economic theory to real-world financial situations. He stresses for each of us to think as an analyst and in order to fully understand the influences and forces on a company or sector, you must understand the economics behind the growth or decline.
Data Analysis: This class is taught by Dr. Daniel Magestro, explores some the most common techniques used in financial and investment analysis. One of the main focuses of the class, as evident by the title, is data analysis which is the application of quantitative methods to characterize financial datasets, including which to use in different situations. In this class we also create analyst reports on various topics that allow for students to apply many of the techniques we have learned in a real world application.
As anyone in the business world will tell you, one of the most important factors in being successful is building relationships. Whether with potential clients, co-workers, or in our case, fellow students, the importance does not diminish. Getting to know your classmates and their interests will be paramount not only to building relationships with them, but also to your success. In a program that is as team oriented as the Fisher Specialized Master in Finance, getting to know your classmates is even more important because they are also going to be your teammates.
That being said, the SMF program does a great job of helping us to get to know our classmates through a two week orientation period. During this time we did activities to get to know our classmates as well participate in seminars that would help us to understand the expectations we should have for ourselves. This orientation period was a great time for us to get to know each other outside of the classroom as well since we had plenty of free time with classes not yet in session. Our program set up a picnic at a local park where we were able to not only meet all of our other classmates, but try food from different cultures. We also had the opportunity to take a tour of campus with pre-assigned groups which gave us the opportunity to get to know our way around campus as well getting know more of our classmates.
As we start to get into our classes and split up into groups for our many projects, the many activities we did the first few weeks are really showing their importance. Ensuring that you are working with the best possible group of people for you is paramount to your success and we would not have been able to gain that knowledge before classes start without our efforts during orientation. In closing, the main lesson is that even when you have downtime there are plenty of things you can do that are going to set you up for success once school really starts.