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Exploring Finance Careers

May  2015

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Data analytics and communications skills. That about sums up the advice given by employers to Huntsman School students on the 6th annual NYC Career Exploration Trip in early May. A group of 16 students, led by finance professors Ryan Whitby and Paul Fjeldsted, visited 10 firms over a span of two and a half days to find out firsthand about careers and life in New York City.

Students in New York

John Loffredo, ’86, Senior Managing Director at investment management firm MacKay Shields, noted that he values good communications skills. “I can teach you the analytics, but you need to bring solid written and verbal communications skills.” That advice was echoed by Brian Broadbent, ’93, managing director at Goldman Sachs, who stated that he spends much of his day talking with clients about the impact of events around the world on their investments. Communications skills, including the ability to take in massive amounts of information and making sense of how seemingly disparate pieces of information relate to one another, to the broader economy, and to specific investment strategies, are critical to success in the investment banking field, said Broadbent.

Dustin Jones, ’05, senior vice president at Macy’s, told the students that he looks for three things in evaluating potential hires. “I want to see passion, curiosity, and taste,” said Jones, who began his career at Macy’s 10 years ago and is now on his eleventh job with the company. During a tour of the Macy’s store at Herald Square, Jones showed the group the RFID tags that appear on every single item sold by Macy’s, and how the massive amounts of data collected through this technology is revolutionizing the retail industry. This reliance on data was substantiated in visits with JetBlue, ABC, and Bloomingdale’s, with Britton Pederson, ’10, noting that almost the entirety of his job determining fares for JetBlue is reliant on interpreting data collected from thousands of flights about destination preferences, traffic patterns, competitor pricing, and scores of other data points.

In addition to the business visits, the students explored the city, including a trip to Yankee Stadium and Central Park, and some daring souls even partook of the variety of street food available in Manhattan. Parker Harris, a finance student on the trip, said that "this trip literally changed my life as it opened my eyes to the possibilities available in the city. My goals for my career have expanded and I honestly feel like my career can go wherever I want it.”

During the past academic year, the Huntsman School conducted 12 career exploration trips along the Wasatch Front, with national trips to Washington, DC, Seattle, and NYC.