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        College, Finance, Student

        Auburn Finance Society helps students tailor their careers

        November 9, 2023 By Laura Schmitt

        All News


        Students in front of CBOE in Chicago

        Ten Auburn Finance Society students and their faculty advisors traveled to Chicago, where they visited the financial district, toured the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and learned about the history of the derivatives market and career opportunities from representatives with Group One Trading, a U.S. equity options trading firm.

        The newest student organization in the Harbert College of Business, the Auburn Finance Society (AFS) is all about helping students shape their career paths—and what better way to do that than visit major hubs of financial activity, interact with executive-level speakers and learn to use valuable tools of the trade.

        “Finance is a very broad subject and each area has unique skill sets,” said Tyler Huff, AFS president. “A lot of students don’t know what they want to do. Our [aim] is to get students involved in the club as freshman and sophomores so they can understand the career opportunities early and then tailor their [course] interests as juniors and seniors.”

        AFS is organized around four distinct career paths, each of which has a finance faculty member advisor: wealth management (Mandy Harrelson), banking and financial institutions (Damion McIntosh), derivative trading (Jeffrey Hart) and real estate (Justin Benefield).

        In September, McIntosh and Harrelson led a day-long trip for 24 students to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where they networked with young staffers and learned about internships and full-time employment, toured the money museum, discovered what bank examiners and consumer affairs examiners do, and received an overview of the new FedNow instant payment service.

        “It was good for students to see the different functions that the Fed performs rather than just what we hear on the news from [Federal Reserve Chairman] Jerome Powell,” said Huff, a senior double majoring in finance and business analytics.

        In October, Hart and Harrelson led 10 students on a 2-day trip to Chicago, where they visited the financial district, toured the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and learned about the history of the derivatives market and career opportunities from representatives with Group One Trading, a U.S. equity options trading firm.

        “The overall [trip] was fantastic, the city was beautiful, and Group One Trading was an excellent host, teaching us the basics of derivatives trading at their office,” said finance senior Romen Calvin. “My key takeaway was that I chose the right major. I feel like options trading is super interesting and something I will deal with a lot in my career.”

        Calvin and the other nine students earned the privilege of traveling to Chicago because they completed Hart’s derivative trading training series earlier in the semester. In fact, Hart is supervising live derivative trading with all students who complete the training.

        Student group in front of Atlanta Fed Reserve

        AFS students and faculty advisors visited the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in September, where they learned about career opportunities and the function of the Federal Reserve.

        In addition to trips, AFS actively prepares students for various finance careers through industry-specific training and certification.

        For example, the wealth management branch hosted two study groups so students could prepare for the Life/Health State exam and the Security Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, both of which are considered first steps to a career in the securities industry.

        Three AFS members passed the Life/Health exam and nine passed the SIE exam, Harrelson said.

        Students in the wealth management branch also have access to the e-Money software platform, which industry professionals use to create financial plans for their clients.

        “Our students get to experience the business cycle of a financial planner,” explained finance senior Noah Ballew, director of the wealth management branch. “They can also complete a guided training course, where they learn to use the tools that will enable them to tailor a financial plan according to a client’s needs.”

        Students in the derivative trading branch are learning to use the InteractiveBrokers software, a powerful investment platform that allows users to trade stocks, options, futures, forex, cryptocurrencies, bonds and funds in 150 markets.

        This fall, the real estate branch hosted a networking event, where students interacted with representatives from various professional associations, including the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) Institute, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network, Urban Land Institute (ULI), Appraisal Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), commercial real estate development association (NAIOP), International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).

        The real estate students have also gained career advice from guest speakers like the retired founder of a regional venture debt firm and the current CEO of a regional production home builder.

        Huff looks forward to developing more ties with Auburn alumni.

        “As AFS grows, we hope to build a network of alumni who will come back and help our students propel their career forward,” said Huff. “I’d want employers to know that the organization is less than a year old, but has already given its 250 members many opportunities to learn about the industry, giving us an understanding that not all students have.”

        AFS is open to all Auburn students and there is no minimum GPA requirement.

        “We welcome all students, but you have to be willing to work,” said Harrelson. “We want students that desire more beyond the classroom and who have a thirst to grow as a finance major.”

        Questions about AFS? Contact President Tyler Huff.


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.