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Wall Street Crash Course 2011

The Wall Street Crash Course dinner on Friday, September 16, 2011.

The second annual Wall Street Crash Course on campus Sept. 16-17 gave aspiring bulls and bears an up-close look at the ins and outs of the finance industry. The event drew 180 undergraduates for learning, discussions and networking with 30 Tufts alumni from the world of finance.

“The Wall Street Crash Course was truly remarkable, with more than double the students from the previous year,” said Jay Joshi, A12, president of the student-run Tufts Financial Group, which co-hosted the event with the Tufts Financial Network and the Office of Career Services.

“The addition of an advanced session allowed even experienced students to learn something new,” Joshi said, “while the number of impressive alumni who took the time to connect with students speaks volumes about Tufts and the people associated with the university.”

William Huang, A12, majoring in international relations, said he took away a great deal from the event. “It opened my eyes to many different areas of finance from hedge funds to boutique investment banks,” he said. “I liked the small table luncheons because I got a chance to learn more about the recruitment process in major investment banks.”

Eileen Aptman, J90, chief investment officer at Belfer Management LLC, participated as a member of the Tufts Financial Network. “My day at the Crash Course showed me just how well prepared Tufts students are for a future in finance,” she said. “They are extremely capable and bright, and welcomed a bit of guidance as to how best to position themselves for obtaining finance jobs or internships. I’m glad I could share my insights.”

The idea for the Wall Street Crash Course came from Jeff Moslow, A86, a partner at Goldman Sachs and a member of the advisory committee of the Tufts Financial Network. This daylong workshop is designed to educate students on various finance career options and help them better prepare for the job interview process.

This year’s event opened with a welcome dinner on Sept. 16 in the Coolidge Room of Ballou Hall that was addressed by President Anthony Monaco, A&S Dean Joanne Berger-Sweeney, and Trustee Chairman James Stern, E72, A07P. A full day of programming followed on Sept. 17 at the Perry and Marty Granoff Music Center.

With break-out groups and networking sessions, the Wall Street Crash Course offered students real-world, practical advice as well as personal connections with successful Tufts alumni in financial service careers.

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Geopolitical Crisis: When the Front Page Converges with the Business Page

In the last days of a month that saw the death of Libya’s ousted leader, the first post-revolution elections in Tunisia, and a deepening crisis in the Eurozone, over 125 members of the Tufts Financial Network gathered on October 25 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York for the first in a series of events presented in collaboration with the Fletcher School’s Institute for Business in the Global Context. The topic of the evening: Geopolitical Crisis: When the Front Page Converges with the Business Page. An enthusiastic audience wanted to know, “What does this near-term political volatility mean for business in the long-run?”

In a lively conversation that extended well into the evening over cocktails, Fletcher professors Vali Nasr and Daniel Drezner, joined by Gideon Rose, Editor of Foreign Affairs, and moderated by Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti, Executive Director of the Institute for Business in the Global Context, took the audience on a journey that touched on the epicenters of global systemic, financial, and political risk. The panelists debated the increasing correlation of financial and political risk worldwide, and shared their vision of how events may unfold in the near future.

Rose set the stage with an optimistic perspective, arguing that today’s crises are best understood in the long-run as being either “productive crises,” such as the Arab Spring, which has laid the groundwork for positive long-term developments, or “crises of wrenching volatility in an ever more globalized system, which at least allows the opportunity for broad-scale economic development.” As a result, the near-term challenges to long-run stability, according to Mr. Rose, are our reactions to short-term crises, not the crises themselves.

In contrast, Prof. Drezner painted a less sanguine picture of the prospects for geopolitical stability, asserting that, “The biggest source of geopolitical risk right now is not actually in the Middle East. It’s in the developed world. It’s in the United States and the European Union. And the last time that was the case was the 1930’s.” He went on, “All the risks now are systemic, they’re not geographic. So you’re in a situation where if, in fact, you have a problem with Italy, that problem is eventually going to come to the United States.” Of the many memorable moments of the evening, the audience is sure to remember Prof. Drezner’s rather prescient statement: “We’re now in a world – and just think about this for a second – where global financial stability depends on whether you trust Silvio Berlusconi to do the right thing.”

Prof. Nasr reflected on the continuing Arab Spring and identified Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran as the three players “circling the Arab world for influence.” He added that although general opinion seems to hold that Turkey is winning this contest for regional power and Iran is losing, right now, “All three are winning and all three are losing. There is no clear winner.”

Dean Chakravorti wrapped up the discussion on a hopeful note by reminding the audience that instability and opportunity go hand-in-hand: “The Eurozone is finally having a conversation on what integration is supposed to mean, and as for the Middle East…What can be better than seeing the entire region exercise its democratic franchise?”

According to Dean Chakravorti, the conversation was a reminder that the uncertainty of current events has a profound impact on global economic and business opportunities. “Business schools rarely train students to consider the overlap between business decisions and the public policy arena through issues like inclusive growth, international trade, and violent conflict,” he said. “But this area of overlap is exactly where Fletcher’s Master of International Business degree trains students to succeed.”

Of course, the true test of an event of this kind is in the quality of the questions it provokes and the connections – intellectual, professional, and personal – that it inspires. On these measures, the first evening of this three part series set the bar quite high for the next event; Economic Crises: Disorder in the United States and the European Union will take place on March 7, 2012 in New York City. We look forward to seeing you there!

Contributing authors Tanya Hoke, MIB 2013 and Ravi Chaturvedi, MIB 2012

Tanya Hoke, MIB 2013 is a first-year student at the Fletcher School, where she is pursuing a Master of International Business (MIB) with a focus on strategic management and international security. She is a research assistant for the Center for Emerging Market Enterprises’ Country Management project. Prior to coming to Fletcher, Tanya spent four years as a consultant at a political and security risk consulting firm in New York City, where she managed international business intelligence, corruption, and fraud investigations. Tanya received a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies from Swarthmore College.

Ravi Chaturvedi, MIB 2012 is an Emerging Markets Enterprise Scholar, having worked with organizations such as American Express, Standard Chartered, HSBC and Hewlett Packard in various capacities in the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and in parts of Asia for nearly a decade prior to joining Fletcher. Most recently, he was the Head of the American Express portfolio and product P&Ls for the MENA region. Ravi has an undergraduate degree in liberal arts from India and an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management, Philippines.

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