By Alan Piñon
Landing a job on Wall Street takes talent, persistence, a deep understanding of the business, experience, and connections. It’s a tall order for anyone to fill, especially a newly minted college graduate. It was these barriers to entry that led the Broad College of Business to create its Financial Markets Institute (FMI), which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month.
The Financial Markets Institute’s academic director Elizabeth Booth, professor of practice in finance, works individually with finance and accounting majors at the Broad College to design a curriculum that prepares them for their chosen career path within financial services. Students complete an advanced class schedule that, for finance majors, includes a heavy dose of accounting. “We push the students with challenging classes early in their MSU careers to prepare themselves well for their internships,” said Booth. FMI scholars also participate in a variety of events that create opportunities for engagement with alumni who work on Wall Street and in other sectors of the financial industry.
The FMI’s 119 graduated scholars have gone on to work in leading financial institutions in both the bulge-bracket and middle-market categories. Employers include Apollo Global Management, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BlackRock, Bloomfield Capital Partners, CIFC Asset Management, Citigroup, Deloitte Corporate Finance, Deutsche Bank, FINNEA Group, Goldman Sachs, Jefferies, J.P. Morgan Securities, MERS of Michigan, Morgan Stanley, P&M Corporate Finance, Quarton International, Raymond James Financial, Robert W. Baird, Rock Ventures, Stifel Financial, Stout Risius Ross, Inc., Wells Fargo Securities, and William Blair.
One of the keys to the success of the program over the years has been the willingness on the part of Michigan State University alumni to return and share knowledge and connections with current FMI students, said Helen Dashney, director of the FMI.
“We are particularly proud of the large number of MSU alumni we’ve identified through our efforts to build the institute over the last 10 years,” Dashney said. “Having access to industry professionals has been critical to the success of our students, and that willingness to give back in this way is really a testament to what it means to be Spartan,” she said.
In addition to the curriculum focus and alumni engagement opportunities, the students also visit financial services firms and alumni each year in Chicago and New York and participate in off-campus competitions including a stock pitches, case competitions, and Wall Street Journal Challenges.
“FMI is producing outstanding scholars every year, and after 10 years, our network has grown and prospered throughout the financial sector. Wells Fargo Securities has been a large beneficiary of this success as we have hired several FMI scholars over the years. While we celebrate the success of MSU on the fields and on the court, FMI is consistently one of the best teams on campus today,” said Brian Van Elslander, managing director and head of the Financial Sponsors Group at Wells Fargo Securities and also FMI advisory board member.
The success the FMI has had in impacting student job placement makes it a model example for other similar initiatives at the Broad College of Business.
“The FMI has set a standard of excellence that showcases what can be accomplished when the community of Spartans comes together to work toward the shared goal of helping our students achieve their career aspirations, be it on main street or Wall Street,” said Sanjay Gupta, the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean of the Broad College of Business.