Economics teachers Liz Leyden and Mat DeNunzio took 20 sophomores and juniors on an experiential learning trip to New York City on Wednesday, May 29, to tour two companies with products and structures very different from one another.
The goal of the day, according to Liz, was to apply classroom work to real-world experiences and to dispel myths about working on Wall Street. As preparation for the trip, students chose sets of questions to research and present as their final project for their class.
The first stop of the day was at Citigroup to meet with junior members of the Investment Banking Group. The visit was arranged by Ben DiFabio '94, managing director at Citigroup. Three analysts gave the students an overview of the Investment Banking Group's work at Citigroup. The students broke into small groups and asked the associates questions about their work, their daily life, and what high school students might do to prepare for a career in finance. The associates described rather grueling daily schedules, but they all commented that the work is interesting, dynamic, and constantly changing, and that one day is never the same as the day before. The students also were interested in how they might get jobs at Citigroup, peppering the associates with questions about recruiting, academic preparation, and the internship interview process.
Jen Podurgiel '96, vice president of Global Securitized Markets at Citigroup, led the second presentation of the day. Jen, who has worked in various roles at Citigroup, gave a tour of two trading floors and explained the work done and the financial instruments traded in that section of the bank. The students stood in awe of the three large screens at each trader and analyst's desk that show large amounts financial data in real-time, and listened with interest as Jen explained the less-known side of securities trading, such as the fact that traders cannot leave posts during trading hours without finding someone to cover their desks. After the tours, Jen told the students about her background and her career path from a master's degree in electrical engineering to the trading floor of Citigroup 18 years ago.
After lunch in a Citigroup conference room, the group traveled to the New York offices of Slack, a company founded in 2014 that offers collaboration software to companies. Jonathan Prince '85, head of strategic communications and senior advisor to the chief executive officer, welcomed the students to the office and introduced them via video conference to Fareed Mosavat '97, director of product, lifecycle. Fareed provided an overview of Slack and his background working for tech start-ups. He shared that Slack is just weeks away from its first direct listing of stock and explained the difference between an initial public offering and the direct listing process. Fareed then answered questions on topics ranging from how Slack makes money to what he likes most about his job. His Loomis experience, he said, gave him the chance to "show up and be an adult," drove his independence, and helped him learn how to use mathematical thinking in everyday life.
The students are taking what they learned and presenting their research this week in blogs, videos, podcasts, bulletin boards, and articles as their final class projects.
The students and their teachers were accompanied on the trip by Loomis Chaffee Director of Development Timothy Struthers '85 and Senior Major Gifts Officer Mitchell Linker.