Students invest in financial career goals
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Global markets, the U.S. economy and careers in finance were the topics addressed by specialists working in the field of business at the second annual student investment conference on Nov. 6. at SF State.

Financial Analysis and Management Education, an on campus student organization that encourages students to develop financial and leadership skills, attracted approximately 250 students from 20 different colleges and universities around California at their event held at Jack Adams Hall.

Nancy K. Hayes, dean of the college of business at the University, said the purpose of the conference was to blend student's academic experiences with exposure to real-world business events.

William Lee, chief investment officer for Kaiser Permanente said he was impressed by students in FAME for being able to organize a very professional conference for students.

"It was great and I would come back next year," said Lee, who was a panelist on the topic of global markets. Lee said he hoped for students to leave the event with a better understanding of specific issues such as pension plans.

Panelists and speakers from firms throughout the country and Canada comprised the panel discussions along with three student representatives from different colleges who were allotted two minutes to ask one question.

David Goerz, chief investment officer for HighMark Capital, an asset management firm, and panelist at the conference said, "The U.S. social security program has gone from reasonable to a ponzi scheme," meaning citizens are being offered benefits that can no longer be guaranteed.

Amy Duong, a business economics major at Mills College said she came to the conference to learn about real-life situations in business.

"Often times there's a disconnect with what you read in a textbook and what's happening outside," said the 21-year-old student.

The last panel featured managers and vice presidents from four different firms who advised the audience about what courses, jobs and skills to acquire for a successful interview.

Robert Shoffner, a regional manager for Citi Banking said, "College teaches you how
to think," and suggested that business college students should not only focus on the classroom, but also apply for internships and jobs as bank tellers to learn to network.

On the other hand, Lucia Wallace, senior vice president for Houlihan Lokey, an international and advisory-focused bank, said she looks for a 3.5 GPA or higher from applicants who want to intern.

Cynthia Ngo, a 21-year-old senior at SF State majoring in finance and FAME member said she is grateful to be exposed to people in the financial industry.

Ngo, who originally enrolled at the University as a pre-nursing major, said, "Finance is more fast-paced."

According to Midov, who is also a transfer student from Russia, there are about 52 members in FAME, which was founded in the spring of 2008 and is organized in a way that involves all of its members.

"Unlike other clubs where members go to meetings, sit, listen and leave, in FAME, every member is assigned to one of its four departments," he said.

For example, members in the fundraising department were in charge of seeking donations and sponsors for the conference, while the marketing department was responsible for promoting the conference on campus and outside of campus.

"We make this a meaningful experience," said Midov, who also works 50 hours a week as a waiter and security guard in downtown San Francisco.

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