Visiting the bull of Wall Street (L-R) Saul Hernandez, Brandon Perry, Samira Alavi, Omasan Atsiangbe, Randy Crealock and Caitlyn Gallant.A group of University of New Brunswick students focusing their studies in finance, had the educational trip of a lifetime earlier this term, when they travelled to New York City and visited the trading floors on Wall Street.  The group included PHD.FOR student Saul Hernandez, fourth year BBA students Randy Crealock, Caitlyn Gallant and Brandon Perry, as well as second year MBA students Samira Alavi and Omasan Atsiangbe, all members of the Student Investment Fund (SIF) class. They were accompanied by the SIF instructor and director of UNB’s Centre for Financial Studies, Glenn Cleland.

Every year SIF students go on a financial field trip to meet with industry experts working on Bay Street and in Calgary. This year, thanks to financial support from a UNB International Field Course Grant and The Peter Cundill Foundation, they went to New York City’s Wall Street.

Over their three-day visit, January 9-11, they saw the trading floors at Scotia Capital (USA) Inc. and at TD Securities. They met with industry experts, including New York University Stern School of Business professor, Aswath Damadaran, a renowned expert on financial valuation; Jon Stevenson, an investment Advisor Representative working at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company; and UNB BBA alumnus Michael Millie who is Managing Director, Global Head Financial Institutions with Scotia Capital.

“The trip was a great opportunity to meet and interact with investment professionals in their own workplace,” said Samira Alavi. “It was an invaluable learning experience that I otherwise would not have had as a university student.”

Greg Young is another UNB graduate working in New York City’s finance district. He is currently the Managing Director of Derivatives with TD Securities, and while the students were not able to meet with him during their visit, he made arrangements for them to visit the trading floor.

“It was great to see how UNB grads have succeeded in life,” said Crealock. “It was great to meet them in the field and hear what they had to say.”

Other educational highlights of the trip included a visit to Bloomberg headquarters and to Russell Investments, one of the largest pension fund advisors in the world. They also spent time with the famous bull sculpture on Wall Street, and toured the New York Federal Reserve. During a more solemn moment, they checked out the debt clock, which showed a staggering national debt of over $19 trillion dollars US, representing $168,000 per family.

For Brandon Perry, one of the best moments was “seeing the reality of working on trading floors, as opposed to how it is portrayed in film and pop culture. It was definitely eye-opening.”

Both Perry and Crealock were struck by the range of careers paths in the finance industry. Crealock commented, “I don’t think there is any better way to gain an understanding of the finance industry than to hear advice from people who have made their mark. Truly, no substitute.”

The group figures that they each averaged 15,000 steps per day to get to their meetings. While they immersed themselves in Wall Street and all things financial during the day, they added several more steps to their count during the evening visiting some of New York’s famous attractions – the Empire State Building, World Trade Centre, and Times Square. Not a bad way to begin the year.

For more information, contact Liz Lemon-Mitchell

Learn more about the Student Investment Fund