As noted in John Carter’s blog, the three academy student organizations recently took two days away from classes for a career exploration trip to Chicago. Having interned in Chicago this summer, I was eager to return. I was also quite excited to network with alumni as I found the career exploration trip to Minneapolis last fall one of the best experiences of my first year. Being able to talk with alumni and ask them how they went about networking, connecting with companies and about their roles is invaluable.
The GFMA company visits included BMO Harris, ADM Investor Relations, the CME trading floor and United Airlines. We started at BMO Harris where a number of Iowa Alumni as well as recruiter Marc Romito were incredibly welcoming. They provided insight as to what classes would serve us well if we were interested in careers in Capital Markets or Commercial Banking. In the afternoon, we ventured down to the Chicago Board of Trade to visit Tom Kadlec at ADM Investor Relations. We discussed global and macroeconomic conditions and visited the trading floor when the grain markets closed.
Friday morning we started back at the CME, meeting with a trader that is another Iowa alum. He discussed the role of the trading floor in today’s trading. We had noticed at the close the day prior that the futures pit was empty and the options pit was not necessarily as crowded as we expected. Most trading is done electronically and it is possible that in five years the trading floor will become obsolete. It was interesting to reflect how fast business and markets are changing with the technological advances and reinforced that continual learning is necessary as the jobs we get today may not be here in ten years.
We concluded Friday at United Airlines in Willis Tower. First, we toured the Network Operations Center. We saw the NOC in action, keeping the airline moving forward when unscheduled events occur. We learned about the preparation for and recovery from Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent Nor’easter. Afterwards, a panel of Finance professionals answered our questions. It was great to be able to ask questions after watching all of the intricacies of the Network Operations Center.
Thanks to the GFMA for planning a great trip covering investment and corporate finance roles. I am looking forward to the trip in the spring!