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Members of the Integrated Financial Leadership Program (IFLP) at Auburn’s Harbert College of Business were recognized recently for their extraordinary performance and hard-earned reputation as some of the very best financial students in the world. The celebration took place at midfield this past weekend as Auburn took on LSU at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn’s FMA Chapter Dominates
The accomplishments of Auburn’s IFLP students include the exemplary record of the university’s chapter of the Financial Management Association (FMA), which secured top international honors at the 2022 Kroll One Team Challenge for the second straight year this past May in London. Auburn FMA teams have taken the national title for the past three years.
This prestigious international contest pits teams from hundreds of colleges representing some of the highest-ranked programs in business education in the world who square off to conduct an analysis of a hypothetical company, establish a valuation and then develop a business strategy.
Since its inception in 2014, Auburn FMA has been recognized as the premiere organization for preparing students for elite finance careers through professional development, industry exposure and alumni engagement. The exclusive student honor society in the Harbert College of Business consistently helps place Harbert graduates into some of the nation’s top investment banking firms, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Truist, Wells Fargo and Regions, among others.
The on-field recognition came a day after Auburn’s fifth-annual FMA Summit on September 30, which included keynotes, breakout sessions, panel discussions, a rooftop reception overlooking the Auburn campus and the Summit Tailgate at the Dean’s Tent. Representing FMA students at the on-field ceremony were senior Co-Presidents Maggie Richard and Nick Thompson, as well as former FMA Presidents Kennedy Jarvis ‘22, Jonathan Hu ‘22, Price Delk ‘21, Jim Brewster ‘20, Jordan Carr ‘18 and Caroline Clothiaux ’16.
Real World Investment Experience Matters
As impressive as Auburn FMA’s leadership in finance is, their success represents just one component of the IFLP program that demonstrate how uniquely valuable this flagship initiative has become.
The Auburn Student Investment Fund (ASIF) within the IFLP is another Harbert-based initiative benefitting from the IFLP’s focus on finance student education, experience and hands-on participation in one of the Fund’s investment industry segments. ASIF works to foster members’ interests in financial markets to help students develop investment analysis skills while instilling in each member the high standards of Wall Street investment ethics.
ASIF members utilize the Bloomberg terminals, SEC filings, current financial news and security analysts’ reports to research and manage their now $500,000 fund’s investments in publicly held equities and other investment vehicles.
Building on Tradition – New Facilities Point the Way
The on-field recognition also celebrates the $3.2 million expansion of the new Harbert Investment Center, a world-class, finance student-oriented facility equipped with 12 Bloomberg terminals, a dedicated training center and multiple collaboration spaces designed to accommodate a wide range of educational and professional development resources and services.
The facility itself began in 2007 thanks to Raymond J. Harbert’s first gift to Auburn, well before his landmark endowment that resulted in the school being named The Harbert College of Business in 2013. That initial investment has since been expanded by donations of time, energy and financial resources from Mr. Harbert and numerous other alumni, business partners and students themselves over the years.
Joe Hanna, Regions Bank Professor and interim dean at Harbert, made note of all the people who help make these initiatives possible. “We are grateful for the vision of Raymond Harbert and all the others whose commitment and financial support have been so critical to the success of the Harbert Investment Center, the IFLP, FMA and the ASIF as pillars of undergraduate and post-graduate finance education at the Harbert College of Business today,” said Hanna.
Hanna also pointed to the students, faculty, alumni and business partners responsible for the IFLP’s success. “The Integrated Financial Leadership Program at Auburn represents the very best we have to offer our students and the business partners who support our mission,” said Hanna. “I’d like to acknowledge Tracy Richard in Harbert’s Department of Finance for her extraordinary leadership in helping to establish and build the IFLP into what it is today.”
Richard concurred that Harbert finance students are making an impact: “On the world stage, not only are we winning competitions year after year, but we’re also placing our students at some of the absolute top investment banks across Wall Street. I couldn’t be more excited about that.”
Nick Iannone, a junior in Finance at Harbert and leader of this year’s winning FMA team, put the value of the IFLP, the FMA and recently expanded Financial Lab this way in a recent interview:
“The ‘secret’ to Harbert’s unprecedented record of success in international competitions and in securing promising positions at premier financial institutions is two-fold:
Keys to Success
The success of Auburn’s IFLP can be attributed to a host of reasons – from world-class learning and collaboration space and top-tier financial analysis technology to the tremendous support and engagement of our alumni, notes Richard.
“100% job placement for our members at an average starting compensation of $140,000 for bachelor’s degree graduates doesn’t happen on its own,” she points out.
“We accept 25 to 35 students each year from all disciplines,” Richard said. “Applicants must have a minimum 3.6 GPA with an analytical focus to their chosen curriculum, and they have to commit to four years of real-world training. We partner with a former executive of Training the Street, a national company that trains investment bankers in a 2-week program before they hit the trading desk. This individual now teaches our Advanced Financial Modeling course.”
She added: “We also partner with a portfolio manager from Retirement Systems of Alabama, who teaches a Security Analysis class. Students take a 2-course sequence, including Advanced Financial modeling and Portfolio Management. The students applying now are incredible. I’ve seen an increase in students that got accepted to traditional ‘prestigious banking schools’ and chose to come to Auburn instead. That’s saying something.”
Beyond FMA and ASIF
Students are now starting another finance club outside of FMA and ASIF for those who aren’t members of the IFLP.
“That’s important,” notes Richard. “Having this center as a resource for all finance-focused students is critical. The Harbert Investment Center is open to all students when classes are not being held and the Leadership Center is open to junior and senior finance majors until 2:00 pm each day. The bar is rising for investment banking analyst positions, and the requirements for all Auburn finance students seeking these coveted jobs is going up.
“FMA, ASIF, and the expanded Harbert Investment Center serve to complement the classroom instruction and financial industry guest lecturers that help make the Harbert College of Business who we are.”