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“We get to see one another and discuss how far the program has come, and what they are currently working on in the field. For the alums to be able to network with the younger students and tell their stories — it’s just fun to see them right back where they left off with each other.”
A forum with three C-suite executives and multiple breakout sessions for students with industry professionals highlight this weekend’s Financial Management Association Summit — a two-day homecoming, of sorts, where graduates from one of Auburn University’s most prestigious student organizations come together.
David Andrews, Senior Managing Director at Evercore, John Murphy, EVP and Chief Financial Officer at the Coca-Cola Company, Kristin Kallergis, Head of Alternatives at J.P. Morgan, will lead a 90-minute speaker panel Friday at 3:30 p.m. in Lowder 125A. The event, moderated by Harbert College of Business alumnus Steven Aldridge, Healthcare Investment Banker at Cantor Fitzgerald, is open to the public.
“It’s great for students from all majors to attend because it gives them exposure to different fields and opportunities,” said Tracy Richard, director of financial leadership programs at the Harbert College of Business. “Our panelists will be sharing their personal stories — and they’re in very different, but successful positions. How did they get there? Regardless of the path to success, there are always obstacles to overcome and opportunities to grab. Those stories are insightful and relevant for all students trying to navigate their professional as well as personal futures.”
In an effort to prepare students for their own professional futures, FMA incorporates practical application and ancillary training for its 80 members. The rigor of the program has shown dividends in its first five years — 2018 FMA graduates earned an average annual starting compensation of $93,000 and are placing at top institutions: Goldman Sachs, the top investment bank in the world; Point72, a top-three hedge fund in the world; and Evercore and Moelis & Co., both leading strategic advisory firms, to name a few.
“Auburn students can compete with any of the top schools,” said Richard, who also teaches several sections of corporate finance.
“What I hear from recruiters in New York is that when you take a kid from Auburn and offer them a position on Wall Street, the differentiator is gratitude — Auburn grads realize that it took hard work to get there and they want their target school peers to know they deserve the spot. Oftentimes, graduates from elite investment banking/asset management schools just expect that’s where they will end up.”
Jordan Carr, former FMA president now working in New York for Moelis, agrees: “It has never been a question of whether Auburn students are capable of achieving these feats, but merely whether they are equipped with the resources necessary to attain them.”
Although Friday’s events offer several engagement opportunities for students, including breakout meetings with industry professionals, it is only a microcosm of the program. Throughout the year, FMA presents HCOB students with opportunities to hear first-hand career advice from industry professionals, meet with financial executives and gain insight on the training necessary for successful careers in finance.
“Auburn students can compete with any of the top schools. Auburn grads realize that it took hard work to get there and they want their target school peers to know they deserve the spot. Oftentimes, graduates from elite investment banking/asset management schools just expect that’s where they will end up.”
“We’re trying to expose the students that are interested in a career in finance to various segments of the financial services industry from private equity to corporate finance and to highlight successful and engaged alumni who can tell that story best,” Richard added.
The program director expects around 25 FMA alumni at this year’s Summit, eight of whom are spending the weekend at her Auburn home.
“That’s my favorite part — seeing the alumni come back,” Richard said. “We get to see one another and discuss how far the program has come, and what they are currently working on in the field. For the alums to be able to network with the younger students and tell their stories — it’s just fun to see them right back where they left off with each other.”
Tim Strader, who graduated in 2018 and currently works in Los Angeles for JP Morgan emphasizes the connectivity of the group: “Not only do we try to help each other and make each other better, we like to have fun together. During my summer analyst training in New York, we met people from all over the world with different backgrounds, from different universities. There were six FMA people in New York that summer, either in training or internships and we would occasionally get together and have fun. As other people caught on, they wanted to meet and "hang with the Auburn kids", because they knew we were driven and knowledgeable, but also personable and liked to have fun. As one of my friends from a northeastern university put it, 'We had a finance group (at my school) and there are two others in my current training class from that group, but I don't know them that well.' The connectivity and involvement of Auburn FMA alums is a key success factor of the program."
Friday evening, FMA will host a social at the Collegiate for its alumni members, and will conclude the Summit on Saturday with a special tailgate on the Gavin Terrace at Horton-Hardgrave Hall prior to the Georgia at Auburn football game.