State Street Field Trip
Mary Papazian took more than 20 students from Merrimack’s Finance Group to Boston in November to get ground floor views of the differences between traditional retail banking and the asset management side of finance, in order to help them get a feel for the types of careers they could obtain in the finance industry.
“You see two completely different types of worlds,” said Papazian, an assistant professor in the Accounting and Finance Department and director of the Mucci Capital Markets Lab. “They were able to see where they fit because personality and skill set goes a long way toward where you work in finance.”
Students visited the equity and foreign exchange trading floor at State Street Global Advisors.
They met senior management during a breakfast network session then held a panel discussion with young executives regarding their profession and their careers. They followed that with a meeting with senior members of the product management team.
Papazian said she wanted students to experience the culture of each firm and learn about the financial products that each firm offers their clients, Papazian said.
The panel discussion included young executives who are only a few years out of college themselves, said senior Matthew Chirokas, of Westford, who’s a finance major.
Each of the SSGA executives had started their careers at other companies to get experience before joining the firm, Chirokas said.
They talked about the transition from college to the workforce and the job opportunities they found, he said.
Chirokas said he played a minor role in planning the trip and had scheduled an interview with SSGA for the day after the trip. It gave him a better understanding of the corporate culture and familiarity with the company that he couldn’t have gotten without the trip, he said.
During the afternoon, students visited Webster Bank downtown Boston, which lends to individuals, small business, and middle market corporations.
“They actually could feel the difference in cultures of the two financial firms,” Papazian said.
The students researched the senior management teams before the visit and had a number of questions prepared.
“It was wonderful for the students to experience what it’s like to network in a professional environment,” Papazian. “I was so proud of them.”
The trip was an excellent opportunity to network and get firsthand education from professionals to whom they might not normally have access, Chirokas said.