Jaspers Take the Bull By the Horns

Students from various academic disciplines learned about the stock market from inside the New York Stock Exchange.

Fortune begins with opportunity. That’s why 25 Jaspers left their books on campus and headed to Wall Street to get a behind-the-scenes look at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Feb. 12.

Coordinated by Manhattan College’s Economics and Finance Society (EFS), and Aileen Lowry Farrelly '95, assistant dean of business, with the help of two NYSE Jaspers, consultant Harry Webber ’82 and managing director Richard Mooney ’68, the 45-minute tour gave students from all disciplines a chance to learn how the stock market works directly from the world’s most seasoned traders.

“To walk on the world’s most famous trading floor, to think about its origins and history, and to actually talk to experienced traders – that’s beyond thrilling,” says Natalia Boliari, assistant professor of economics and finance. “It is an unmatched hands-on experience see traders patiently explain the objectives, tasks, challenges, and risks of their job while they continue to carefully analyze the rapidly changing market and engage in millions of dollars worth of equity sales.”

For global business studies major Gabriel Quiroz ’14, the experience was a chance to view a slice of history that hearkened back to the days of tickertape. The tour and following Q-and-A made him realize that since trading has gone digital, the NYSE is more of a historical monument meets storefront these days.

“The most interesting thing for me was seeing it firsthand,” Quiroz said. “We got to see the stage where CNBC’s Money Market is shot, and our guide told us about the history of trading and new marketing efforts of IPOs (initial public offerings). A lot of it is really like a big show.”

But it was far from all a show. Quiroz used this opportunity to his advantage and made a valuable contact with one of the stock traders whom he hopes to follow up with regarding job opportunities.

It was a return visit to the NYSE for Toronto-native and EFS president Daniel Festa ’14, a finance and economics major, who came to Manhattan College to capitalize on big city opportunities.

“New York City is the financial capital of the world, and it’s a great benefit to be able to go down there and talk to experts,” he says. “Although you may not see that in your day-to-day life, going to the New York Stock Exchange and seeing it all definitely helps you envision how it works.”

Location is often everything. Festa first visited the NYSE in 2013 during a summer internship with Morgan Stanley’s hedge fund services department. He found the opportunity through a posting on JasperLink, Manhattan College’s job and internship board, and then met with a Morgan Stanley recruiter during an event on campus.

Working with Morgan Stanley’s hedge fund services department gave him valuable experience, a handful of mentors, and a foot in the door. After completing his internship, he was hired as an investment services professional and will begin working in May 2014, shortly after commencement.

“I am excited to start working full time,” Festa says. “I’ve gotten a lot of good advice talking to my mentors and contacts in the city. They’ve said to enjoy your last year at Manhattan, and do everything you can because after you graduate, these opportunities are hard to come by.”

Learn more about experiential learning in Manhattan College’s School of Business.

By Sarah Schwartz