Lauren Gennett Essay on 2010 FMA Trip to NY

Lauren GennettAs I look back on the Financial Management Association trip to New York City, it is hard to put the experience into words. Every destination in New York was unique, and each brought a different view of the financial world.

Sitting in the Bloomberg Terminal Headquarters, I was amazed by the transparency of the corporation. Its core belief is to “bring transparency to capital markets through access to information.” This is very apparent as you walk through the entire glass building and watch employees interact and work as equals.  No one employee is above another, and every employee is excited about reporting timely and accurate information.

The theme of transparency didn't end when we left the Bloomberg Terminal; it continued throughout the rest of our trip.  After settling into PricewaterhouseCoopers, we were greeted by familiar faces.  Jon Papaik and Haley Hubbard (both UT alums and former students of Suzan Murphy) spoke with us not only about their jobs, but also about adjusting to city life right out of college.  I enjoyed listening to them because they are proof that if you work hard enough, you can do anything you put your mind to.

Friday morning we met with Madison Galbraith, another UT alumnus, at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Knowing very little about the NYMEX, I was unsure of what to expect. We started our tour with John Lemkan, and he showed such passion and excitement for the history of NYMEX that it was hard not to be excited with him.  Mr. Galbraith and Mr. Lemkan allowed me to feel comfortable asking many questions. As Mr. Galbraith led us, FINRA-- the concept of transparency in the financial markets-- became even more apparent. As I listened to Mr. Richard Ketchum and the others, it was apparent that they were a part of FINRA in order to make a difference. Their compassion and dedication to making the financial markets more transparent gave me an understanding for the importance of regulation and just how complicated it is to achieve.  Each of the gentlemen who spoke with us truly cared and encouraged me to look deeper into how markets actually function.

As we wrapped up the afternoon, I didn't think the trip could get any better, but it did.  As we walked into the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), I never expected to be able to actually walk on the floor during trading, let alone speak with a market maker.  As we were paired off in small groups, I couldn't believe that we were getting to see up close how these market makers operate. Jason Hardzewicz was animated and excited to share his story with us and show us how the trading worked. When the closing bell rang, I was not ready to leave--I could have stayed another hour asking questions.

If you asked me before the trip, I never would have imagined that I would meet with such inspiring and dedicated members of the financial world. These men and women taught me lessons you can't learn in the classroom.  The short time they spent with us was meaningful and showed me the multiple opportunities that are available in a market that is struggling to recover. They are part of the recovery and have encouraged me to want to make a difference as well. 

Lauren Gennett
Senior in Finance

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