#WDWS12 Back to the OC

As the travel portion of the 2012 Walk Down Wall Street travel course has reached its conclusion, a word from its instructor, Professor Ayca Altintig.

Group shot in front of the NASDAQThe WDWS 2012 Class is back from New York City!  It was a very exciting week overall!  We visited many great financial companies and institutions.  Students went on the actual trading floor of the NYSE and met designated market makers, met with board members and senior VPs of some of the biggest financial firms in the world.  They met some of our alumni that work on the street and got to share their experiences, and even went to watch a Merrill Lynch financial advisor play blues in downtown.  Most students gained valuable insight and invaluable contacts through this trip.

WDWS is about fun and the big city experience as it is about the financial knowledge.  Some reactions to NY are what I have come to expect after three years of travelling with Southern CA students to NYC: Streets are crowded; subways are dirty; everything is open after midnight; lights in Times Square are so bright; weather is so cold; city is so expensive.  Yet, every year each group has its own likes and dislikes.  Some highlights from this year: Chinatown with its crowded and colorful streets and bargaining for not-so-real merchandise; the chicken and rice cart next to the hotel – their spicy chicken is a running student favorite; Little Italy, NY Style sliced pizza, Madison Square garden and Penn Station

I think overall it was a very successful, educational and fun trip.  For me it was a great success: All 18 students safely back to SoCal – no hospitalizations, no hotel security knocking on doors!!! For a faculty guide that is the definition of success.

Now we are back in class, for one more week! 85 degree weather outside after the grueling 35 degrees of NY.  What? We have to study?  Yes, presentations and the final to go! Then interterm and WDWS 2012 will be officially over!

I cannot wait to read what is in the journals about the trip!

All parents, friends and followers of this class, please stay with us and keep on reading the adventures of future WDWS classes in NY.

To be continued in Winter 2013….

-Ayca

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Day 5 of WDWS

Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences in New York City.  Our entry for Friday, 1/20/2012 comes from Sumair Devani, Preston Oklejas, Derek Witte, and Tucker Johnson.

Ambassador ringing the opening bellThis morning’s adventure was quite exciting, and it was relatively warm in comparison to other days this week, with a temperature of about 37 degrees. This may seem cold to my fellow students that aren’t used to the East Coast weather, but if you want to enjoy a career out here, it is a small displeasure in exchange for the chance to live and work in the hub of the financial service industry. Our first event was quite exhilarating; the ambassador of China came to open the NASDAQ trading day, in celebration of the 1st day of the Chinese New Year.  The countdown was projected onto the big screen in Time Square, and as soon as the clock hit 9:30am, confetti exploded from their projectors. Even before the last piece of red confetti hit the ground, we were escorted out.

Our next meeting took place only an hour after the class left NASDAQ, and for me it was one of the most incredible meetings of the entire trip.  We met with Hedge fund manager and NYUs Stern Business School faculty Professor Jim Liew.  With him was his close friend Charles, who is an asset allocator.   Charles spoke so quickly and without breathing for so long it made me feel a bit winded!  I’m not entirely interested in hedge funds as a future career (it is a bit too quantitative for me to enjoy), yet anytime a hedge fund manager is willing to speak and share their insights with a group of young students, the knowledge and experience we can potentially gain is unquantifiable. I especially enjoyed picking both their brains for which sectors they found most undervalued, because I actively manage my own portfolio. I was quite happy to find that my own ideas positively correlated with theirs.

Smile
I have decided to read tonight to prepare for our upcoming final, and meet with a Financial Advisor from Merrill Lynch that I happen to know from my boss back in California for a bit of dinner and insight for my future career path.

– Preston

We started off the day with a visit to NASDAQ for their opening bell. Throughout the trip I was expecting this to be the most exciting visit.  However, I was a little disappointed to see how short the process was.  The opening bell was pushed that day in celebration of Chinese New Year, with representatives of a company from China that was listed in the NASDAQ. The next organized event was held in the hotel where we had speakers from NYU.  It was great to learn about hedge funds and their operations. It was also really nice of the presenter to provide some guidelines that would help us manage a hedge fund should the chance arise in the future. Later on I headed to Museum of Natural History for another great experience, followed by a walk down the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a beautiful site seeing experience. In the evening, I was even able to see an old friend of mine and hangout with him.

–  Sumair

Eating Rays Pizza for lunch! If we eat one more large pizza I’m going to explode, but when in Rome do as the Romans do!

Last night in NYC, meeting Riley Etheridge from Merrill Lynch in a little to hear some blues and talk about the Street. Can’t wait to go home but definitely going to live it up tonight! Hope we don’t get lost in the subway again….

– Derek

This morning I woke up and went to the NASDAQ. We weren’t there very long. It was a lot shorter and different then I had imagined. It was cool to see the opening bell and celebrate the Chinese New Year.

We then went back to the hotel and listened to to speakers. They were both very interesting and helpful. I learned a lot about hedge funds and the industry of finance and investing.

A couple hours later, I took the subway to Chinatown. It was filled with people and tons of places to shop. We spent the afternoon there and headed back to our hotel around 6.

We went to dinner at a burger and milkshake restaurant around 8 pm. It was packed and delicious. After dinner, we went back to the hotel to pack and go to sleep. All in all it was an amazing trip! I had a great time and learned a lot.

– Tucker