2019 Financial Management Association Leaders’ Conference
Sixteen student members of the South Alabama chapter of the Financial Management Association (FMA) attended the 2019 FMA Leaders’ Conference on March 7th and 8th in New York City. The students were Hong Nguyen, Lacey Dugger, Jesus Gonzalez Lopez, Quy “Annie” Vo, Caleb Dunaway, Christina Roberts, Clifford Harris, Andrew Knapp, Tyler Spidle, Cameron McNair, Sabrina Begum, James “Baxley” Stokes, and Mac Carr. Dean Bob Wood, Dr. Ken Hunsader, and Dr. Chris Lawrey attended as faculty advisers.
On the morning of March 6, the day prior to the conference, the students enjoyed a private tour of the New York Stock Exchange with John Elliot, a broker at GTS, Inc. Standing outside in 17º weather prior to our entry was well worth the wait as once inside we were able to remove our coats and witness the start of trading for the day, which was quite exciting as the New York City Football Club, a Major League Soccer team, rang the opening bell. Then, our students spent the morning walking the floor and learning about buy and sell orders, bid and ask spreads, and the technology behind the trades.
During the conference, the students were able to visit businesses including Bloomberg, NASDAQ, Venmo, and The Wall Street Journal. Another interesting option was a tour called the Wall Street Experience, a history of the 2008 financial crisis. Along with the tours, the students attended several seminars. These included “Take Charge of your Professional Development”, “Theory and Prevention of Fraud”, “Financial Modeling”, and “The Future of Finance”. In addition, Sam Stovall, a regular guest on CNBC and Chief Investment Strategist at CFRA hosted “Uncertain Times in Today’s Economy” and Joseph Burgoyne III, the Director of Institutional and Retail Marketing for the Options Industry Council held a session on options.
An annual highlight of the conference is the Quiz Bowl, a two-day team competition. Two or three member teams representing their universities participate. The first round is a written exam covering textbook topics. The top sixteen teams with the highest exam scores move on to the second round on day two. This round is a “Sweet Sixteen” type tournament where the 1st place team competes versus the 16th, the 2nd versus the 15th, and so on. Each knockout stage is five to eight verbal questions where teams quickly write their answers to questions on topics such as stock ticker symbols and corporate finance in the news. Out of thirty teams from schools such as Auburn, James Madison, Temple, Butler, and Western Kentucky four of our five teams made it through the exam portion to reach the second round. In the second round, two of our teams were knocked out by one of the other South teams—not once, but twice! When the dust settled, teams from South Alabama placed first and second in the competition! Congratulations to our first place winners, Hong Nguyen, Baxley Stokes, and Jesus Gonzalez Lopez, and our second place finishers, Tyler Spidle and Lacey Dugger. A great day for the MCOB and the Economics and Finance department. Overall, the trip was a great experience, especially for those students who were visiting New York City for the first time.