Archive for the ‘Finance Major’ Category

Ashland University’s Eagle Investment Group is having their sixth annual Golf Outing on September 29th. About the Eagle Investment Group Dr. James Falter explains, “Known also as Eagle I and Eagle II, the Eagle Investment Group  allows students to ‘self’ manage a portfolio of publicly-traded securities.  Currently, the portfolio is valued at $1.3 Million.  When compared to other student-managed investment portfolios, the Eagle Investment Group is in a unique position in that it is truly ‘student-managed.’  Often in competing programs, student investment portfolios are managed by a committee of faculty advisors/professional managers (rather than by their students). ”

The 6th Annual Eagle Investment Group Golf Outing, organized by the students of the Eagle Investment Group, is the largest fundraiser done to help support their academic experiences.  The proceeds from this event will be used to send the students of the Eagle Investment Group to visit Wall Street for one week during April, 2015. The event will be held on Monday, September 29th at The Westfield Country Club. If you are interested in more information about the event or wish to golf please see the attached brochure.



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After a long year of focus, dedication, and learning, the nine Eagle Investment Group members were rewarded with the annual trip to New York City. This year marks the 12th trip in the group’s 13 years of existence that the group has capped off the school year with a trip to New York City.

Group members packed suits and dresses for the afternoon tours with our corporate partners and jeans for relaxation time, where we toured the town. This expedition is something the group has fundraised for and is thought of as “the last hoorah” before graduation. The trip began on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, when nine students and two advisors departed for the airport at 4:00AM.

The Trip
The week of touring consisted of an array of events: visiting Battery Park, a full tour of Ground Zero and Federal Hall, a walk past The New York Stock Exchange, a full educational seminar of The Federal Reserve Bank and tour of Gold Vault, a seminar and tour of Abel Noser Headquarters (a stock brokerage firm), a tour of Bloomberg’s headquarters, a walk through The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and finally, a meeting with a Vice President of National Accounts for Axa Financial. The tours and meet and greets with our corporate partners was a great way for students to network and understand company dynamics.

2013-14 EIG Group

2013-14 EIG Group

Even though tours were planned daily, students had the chance to sightsee on their own. Groups went together to see other famous attractions and restaurants that were on their trip “bucket-list.”

Dr. James Falter, is finishing up his first year as Eagle Investment Group advisor. He stated that he is looking forward to many more trips down the road and believes that the trip is, “A great opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a different environment, interacting/observing with varied business, historic, and cultural sites.”

What’s next?
Touring the financial capital of the world is a unique opportunity; one that will never be forgotten. Group members have spent countless hours of the school year together, understanding the ins and outs of what it takes to become a portfolio manager. Some of the group members will continue on the path as portfolio managers, financial planners, or analysts, while others will pursue other interests. Either way, students have great qualifications to contribute to financial firms or just to manage their own retirement plans. The Eagle Investment Group has allowed its members to test drive the finance industry and find their passions.

Senior member, Gavin Mawhorr, said about the trip, “It was great being able to see how the big timers do it. We can see what we’ve learned in Eagle actually being used, and it’s truly amazing.” The trip proved to be a great opportunity to understand “what it takes to walk down Wall Street with anyone”. The trip concluded on Saturday, April 12, 2014.

Senior, Ryan Mullins reading the newspaper outside of the New York Stock Exchange.

Senior, Ryan Mullins reading the newspaper outside of the New York Stock Exchange.

Next Year’s Group
As the school year wraps up, current Eagle members are helping prepare and transition to next year’s group. Next year’s Eagle Investment group will consist of 11 members. This group will be different than past groups for several reasons. First, a change in required majors has been eliminated; students are only required to take several prerequisites to prepare them to join the group. Students in next year’s group are majoring in Actuarial Sciences, Accounting, Corporate and Asset Management Finance. Finally, in the past, members did not get assignments until August; however, next year’s students already have individual assignments and roles and are meeting to discuss investment guidelines, summer accounts, and to continue to plan for the annual golf outing.

The annual golf outing is Eagle’s only fundraiser to fundraise for the New York City trip. Next year’s group has worked hard to find hole sponsors, silent action donations, and invite golfers. The date for the Sixth Annual Eagle Investment Group Benefit Golf Outing is Monday, September 29, 2014. The outing will be held at Westfield Country Club. For more information, visit our social media site or contact Tina Lillo.

If you’re interested in becoming a part of the Eagle Investment Group, contact Dr. James Falter or visit Eagle Investment Group.

Austin Stritmatter is a junior finance major who will be a part of the Eagle Investment Group his senior year at Ashland University. He is a Resident Assistant and currently serves as an Executive Officer of Student Life.

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There are many directions one may choose to take his or her career after graduating with a degree in Finance from Ashland University. I will be reviewing several of the many career options.

AU finance students have the opportunity to learn in a state-of-the-art trading room.

AU finance students have the opportunity to learn in a state-of-the-art trading room.

A popular career choice is a financial advisor, who provides financial advice and guidance to customers. Financial advisors can offer many different services such as investment management, income tax preparation, and estate planning. They must obtain the proper licenses in order to conduct business with the public. A wide variety of licenses are available for the services that a financial advisor can provide. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) offers several different types of licenses that are needed by both representatives and supervisors. Each license corresponds to a specific type of business or investment.

While there are several licenses for specific types of securities, there are also three general licenses that most of representatives and advisors usually achieve. The Series 6 license is known as the limited-investment securities license, and it covers basic information regarding packaged investments, securities regulations, and ethics. The Series 7 license is known as the “general license”. This license is required to sell virtually any type of individual security. The Series 3 license is considered the riskiest publicly traded investments available and is normally used for individuals selling commodities.

Another opportunity for someone who holds a degree in finance is a personal banker. A personal banker is responsible for conducting financial services for individuals, including the processing of all new account transactions. A personal banker could also help a client decide which accounts would be the best options for them. Personal bankers tend to be knowledgeable about bank telling, vaults, safe deposits and dealing with lines of credit.

One of the most fast-paced career opportunities for someone who holds a finance degree is a financial analyst. The responsibilities of this job consist of evaluating businesses and their projects to determine if they are stable enough to be invested in. When considering investments, the analyst would normally examine the company’s income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. The main objective of this is to be able to explore a company’s past and to be able to use it to tell the future of that company in order to ensure that the investment is worth time and money. One of the most common ways to analyze financial data is to calculate ratios. This data is compared against that of other companies or against the company’s own historical performance. For example, return on assets (ROA) is a common ratio used to determine how efficient a company is at using its assets and can be considered a measure of profitability. This ratio could be calculated for several similar companies and compared as part of a larger analysis. Analysts can be hired to work at investment firms, banks, insurance companies, and as well as other companies. Investment bankers are often the go-to individuals for a deeper look at investment data.

Investment bankers may provide services to their clients such as mergers and acquisitions advice and advice on specific transactions, such as a whether to consider a spin-off or reorganization. In smaller organizations where an investment banking branch may not exist, the finance staff may be in charge of this task. Investment bankers are generally well-paid individuals, but these positions require specific skills in addition to finance such as excellent verbal and written communication skills. These are just a few of the career opportunities that are available for finance graduates. Ashland University helps its finance majors obtain the knowledge that is necessary to attain careers like these.

Kyle Roeth is a Marketing student at Ashland University.

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Last Friday, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Hongxia Wang, a finance professor here at Ashland University. Dr. Wang started teaching at Ashland University in 2009, after she received her Ph D. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois. In 2012, one of her research papers received the best paper award at the Southern Finance Conference.

Wilson: At what age did you decide you wanted to teach and why?

Dr. Wang: I was a teacher in China but I taught different things. I taught Chinese History, English, and Computer Science, so it is very different from what I am teaching here. I chose this career because this is what I think I can do the best. I’ve had other options, but I still like teaching so that’s why I choose teaching as my professional career.

Wilson: At what point in your life did you know you wanted to study finance?

Dr. Wang: Actually, I didn’t know until probably ten years ago. You know, ten years ago, from 2000-2002, I was working for a company in Zimbabwe and because of the language advantage, I was in charge of the cash management of the company. After I finished my contract with that company, I decided that I wanted to go to the United States to get a higher degree, a masters degree. So, actually, at first I applied to the College of Education to get a masters degree in education, but when I went to school and I recognized that since I had a teacher’s license maybe I need to learn something new. That’s when I decided to do the MBA program. Since I did not have a business background, it took me two years to get my masters degree. Every semester I took four classes, and that’s a lot of work! Then, when I approached graduation, one of my professors told me, “You know what Hongxia, you’re good at finance”, so I didn’t recognize myself at that time yet but my professor said I’m good at finance. He said, “If I were you, I would get a Ph D. degree so that later you can become a finance professor.” I was hesitating at the time because of age. I thought maybe I’m too old to go to school for another 4-5 years, but eventually I listened to my professor and I applied to schools that had Ph D. programs. I got admission to Southern Illinois University Carbondale to study my doctorate and then fortunately, I got a very good adviser there who helped me and that’s when I decided to stay and teach in the United States. Overall, I wanted to challenge myself to learn something new.

Wilson: What part of China are you from?

Dr. Wang: I am from the central part of China. Professor Bo Li, who teaches Supply Chain Management here, is also from the central part of China. Actually, we went to the same high school, but we didn’t know each other. We didn’t know each other until we both started working here.

Wilson: Why did you choose to teach finance at Ashland University?

Dr. Wang: After I graduated with my Ph D. from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, I sent many applications and got some interviews. This school is the first school that gave me an offer. I think the right question would be, “Why do I choose to stay here and teach at Ashland University?”. I have been teaching here for 5 years. I came here in 2009. Five years is not a short time and if I wanted to I think that I can simply find another job given the research I have already done here. I do a lot of research and given that I have a lot of options if I really want to change. I decide to stay here because I like the environment here. It’s a small town environment and there is also small class size. Also, you really know your students very well, you can call your students by their name, and help them in the best way that you can. When I came here for an interview, students also interviewed me and they were very professional. That is when I thought that this school was unique and when this school asked me whether or not I wanted the offer, I said, “Yes!”. This school is very unique because our students can do faculty jobs and they know how to ask the right questions for an interview. The students work really hard and try to behave professionally so that’s when I knew I wanted to help these kids.

Wilson: What classes do you teach here at Ashland University?

Dr. Wang: I teach four classes. I teach two MBA classes of financial management, the fundamental one and the required one. I also teach two undergrad classes, Finance 228 and Finance 358. Finance 228 is Financial Management Finance 358 is Financial Statement Analysis. I’m more on the corporate side.

Wilson: What is it about Ashland University’s finance program that sets it apart from other universities?

Dr. Wang: We have a $1 Million endowed fund so that students can play with real money. One thing I want to point out, with a smaller sized school, we are one of the only ones that has this. Given the size of our school, not too many schools provide this fund for students to use in class. We also work very closely with our corporate partners. Sumucker’s is a company that we work very closely with. They provide an open house for the finance majors. Also, every spring there is a golf outing and students get to golf with corporate partners. That is a great opportunity to do some networking.

Brittany Wilson is a Junior Marketing major with a Supply Chain Management minor. She is currently seeking a Marketing internship.

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A common concern of prospective college students is whether it all be worth it after four years. Students want to know feel like they can be successful after spending four years at a university. They want to know that their time spent at college will be meaningful. To demonstrate the benefits Ashland University’s Finance program, I have chosen to spotlight a graduating senior’s experience in the Finance program.

Gavin Mawhorr
Meet Gavin Mawhorr. He is a graduating senior here at Ashland University. Gavin is majoring in Finance with minors in International Business and Marketing. He is also involved in a fraternity on campus, Phi Delta Theta. Additionally, he is part of the Eagle Investment Group that has an actual portfolio that they manage. As part of his graduation requirements, Gavin completed an internship with Edward Jones Investments.
Gavin chose to major in Finance because he has “always had a passion for helping people”, and he has seen how a financial advisor can help their clients. A financial advisor can be a very important person in someone’s life because a financial advisor can influence how a person invests their money, whether it is in a retirement fund or the stock market.
The Eagle Investment Group attracted Gavin to AU’s Finance program. Since the students are given over a million dollars to invest, they get hands-on experience within their field. Instead of just learning the theories and principles of finance, they are actually given the opportunity to practice finance while learning. Therefore, when members of the Eagle Investment Group are searching for jobs, they can say that they already have experience managing a portfolio.
Throughout his four years here at Ashland, Gavin has learned from several great professors, but his favorite finance professor has been Dr. James Falter. He is the advisor to the Eagle Investment Group and teaches Investments, Business Finance, and Security Analysis as well as a MBA class. Like many of Ashland University professors, Dr. Falter comes to class with several years of experience, and is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
While there are many finance classes that can be very beneficial to a finance student, Gavin’s favorite classes have been Investment Portfolio Management I and II. These classes merge theory and practice for students. They develop proficiency in portfolio construction, management, and protection, an understanding of investment portfolio theory, and mastery of current investment analysis techniques. Additionally, students prepare for NASD Series 7 Securities licensure.
Gavin was also able to learn from experience with his internship at Edward Jones Investments. During his internship, Gavin gained hands-on experience with a financial advisor to see what they do on a daily basis. One of his main responsibilities was to contact clients for an advisor, which gave him a new comfort level to speak with people he had never met before. Gavin learned about time management, how to interact with various types of people, and what it takes to be a good financial advisor. All of these lessons will be immensely helpful as he begins his career. After graduation, Gavin will intern with Edward Jones Investments again this summer and hopes to obtain a full-time position.
Ashland University has prepared Gavin for his future in finance in several ways. First, his coursework, which has prepared him to do various types of stock research. Second, he developed the ability to network with clients through his coursework. Finally, he learned through unique experiences. In short, Ashland University has given him a one-of-a-kind education.
Mariah Moyers is a senior marketing major at Ashland University. She currently works as the Community Service Intern and the Public Relations Officer of Student Senate.

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This week, I had the opportunity to conduct a question and answer session with the new Eagle Investment Group Advisor, Dr. James Falter. This is Dr. Falter’s first year at Ashland University teaching finance and economics classes.

Stritmatter: Why did you get into the finance field?

Falter: I started out in college studying chemical engineering but also took a couple economics classes and loved them. The economic classes led to a love for finance and a change in majors.

Another push into the finance field occurred when I worked at a golf course while an undergraduate for three years. One sunny afternoon, a gentleman eagerly wanted to play, even though the golf course was booked for the day. He continued to ask me if there was any way I could work him in. I let him start off on the third hole, and [he] played his way around the course without any disruptions. When he finished, I learned that he was a Vice President at one of the largest financial services firms in the country. He gave me his business card and told me to call him after graduation because he liked how I could get things done. After graduation, I used the card and his referral landed me a job two weeks after graduation. Out of pure chance, this encounter was the beginning of my career in the finance field.

Stritmatter: What were the reasons you left Marietta College to come here?

Falter: There was really one main reason. I was fully tenured and a chair at Marietta College but the Eagle Investment Group was something I wanted to be a part of. Eight years ago, I interviewed here at Ashland to teach but the advisor position wasn’t available. I told them to give me a call if that position opened up. After Dr. Harvey announced his retirement last school year, I received that phone call. The opportunity to work with students who are just as eager about finance as I am was something I couldn’t pass up.

Stritmatter: What are your thoughts on your first year here so far?

Falter: I think I have met my expectations. Teaching Eagle is very different and I’ve had to go through a learning curve myself. This class is more like a lab and I’ve had to alter my teaching style. Overall, I think this year has been a success and I look forward to the years to come.

Stritmatter: What makes Eagle so unique?

Falter: Eagle teaches real world decision making. The program is an experiential learning opportunity that differentiates students. Participants in Eagle have a leg up on competition because of this applicable learning style.

Stritmatter: Are there any changes to Eagle since your arrival?

Falter: My background is a structured discipline approach. We focused more on the analytical research and dove into companies financial reports to find worthy stocks to add to our portfolio.

Stritmatter: How is finance now, compared to when you were a student?

Falter: Globalization and technology has really changed the finance landscape. When I was a student, we only talked about what was going on in Japan, now we are talking about everyone. Also when I was a student, we waited until the next day to read the stock prices in the newspaper. The annual reports were sent through the mail back then and you waited months to receive a copy. Now, with the internet and mobile technology, obtaining financial information is instantaneous.

Stritmatter: What are some skills students learn through Eagle that are applicable in jobs after graduation?

Falter: Some extremely valuable skills are portfolio management, stock valuation and analysis, and decision making. Students are doing the same things in the trading room that they will perform when hired as financial planners, analysts and/or money managers. These skills put students ahead of their competition coming out of college.

Stritmatter: Lastly, what are some of your hobbies outside the classroom?

Falter: I enjoy spending time with my family, playing golf, participating in tournament chess, camping, weight lifting, and of course, stock trading.

If you’re interested in majoring or minoring in Finance, or interested in becoming a part of the Eagle Investment Group, contact Dr. James Falter at jfalter@ashland.edu or visit Eagle Investment Group.

Austin Stritmatter is a junior finance major who will be a part of the Eagle Investment Group his senior year at Ashland University. He is a Resident Assistant and currently serves as an Executive Officer of Student Life.

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The ability to answer this question is one of the driving factors for students to pursue an education in Finance. Understanding securities and the underlying reasons they fluctuate can be of great personal and professional benefit. I think participating in finance classes at Ashland University has been an exceptional way to gain these helpful insights.

When talking to a recent Ashland alumnus, he said that he added Finance as a minor because he wanted to understand what investment options he had for his money. Additionally, he wanted to be able to have a technical conversation with his financial advisor and truly understand what was happening with his money. By speaking with his financial advisor and conducting some quick research, he was able to double his earnings. His budgeting skills also helped him save money, and he now uses the extra money to take weekend trips with family and friends. This is an example of how the knowledge you learn in the AU Finance program can help you in your daily life.

This AU alumnus did not, however, pursue a job in the finance sector. He is the project manager in the information systems branch of a large company and is responsible for accurately and efficiently running a budget for projects in his department. He continued to describe how the knowledge he gained from the finance classes at Ashland University help him make the decisions necessary to go above and beyond at work. Additionally, he continued to stress the importance of the distinct terminology acquired through AU finance courses and how these communication skills can provide a competitive advantage. This is just another example of how the finance program at Ashland University can help set you apart.

Kyle Roeth is a Marketing major at Ashland University.

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