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Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Rik Ghosh

"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee"

Since coming to Reed, I’ve mostly just spent my fall and spring breaks going home and relaxing after an often-stressful half semester. Though such a week of downtime is always appreciated, this past spring break was completely different. Every day of the Financial Services Fellowship (FSF) was jam-packed with activities: days that usually started with firm visits before nine am often ended with social and networking events that ran well past nine pm. The trip packed many experiences into a short period of time, and it was undoubtedly a very productive way to spend the week.

Even before the actual spring break trip, there were a few events on campus that the fellows were asked to attend: the first of these was a three-part Paideia course on capital markets and general financial terminology. This is particularly important because it implies that prior knowledge of the financial industry is not necessary to apply — in fact the trip as a whole is in some form simply an introduction to the professional working world. Though I had absolutely no experience with Finance prior to the trip (and only minimal experience with economics), as a result of the Paideia course I did not have any trouble following the presentations of the various firms in New York. 

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Morgan Vague

"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee"

Read on to learn about the experience of Morgan Vague, a science major in the world of finance. 

This March, a group of eight Reedies including myself, received the opportunity to travel to the mecca of finance, the big apple itself: New York City. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous during the first night, when our generous trip leader initiated an open questions and answer session about finance over a steak dinner in an iconic New York restaurant. Finance had always interested me, and I could hold a decent conversation about it.  But, as the only science major among a group dominated by economics majors, I felt a little out of place. When it was my turn to ask a question, I inhaled deeply, and spouted off a fairly basic question that was answered without the slightest trace of condescension. This set the tone for the next 4 days.

Financial Services Fellowship, 2015: Sarah Canavan

"The Financial Services Fellowship is a prestigious award that gives students who are interested in financial services a hands-on experience through an intensive trip to New York City during spring break.  Students will meet with people representing a wide range of roles in this industry, including journalists, sales and trading analysts, investment professionals, hedge fund managers, financial analysts and more.  All expenses are paid through the generosity of a Reed trustee."

Read on for an account of Sarah Canavan's FSF 2015 experience. 

When I applied for the Financial Services Fellowship I only had faint ideas of what happened in the finance industry. I think we had just started covering monetary policy in Kim Clausing’s Intro to Economics class, and my visions of Wall Street had mostly been colored by The Wolf of Wall Street, “occupy” protests and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890. What I knew, was that if Reed was offering an opportunity to fill in the gaps between where my interests already lie (federal policy and budgets, research funding, et al.) and what the heck happens in big banks and financial institutions, I wanted to be a part of it. 

Economics in Cape Town: McGill Lawrence Internship Award, Sarah Brauner

Sarah Brauner, junior economics/mathematics major, received a McGill Lawrence Internship award to spend her summer in Cape Town, South Africa working at the Economic Policy Research Institute.

This summer has been a story of disparate images and experiences, and as I sit down to write this post, its hard not to be daunted by the task of stringing them together into a cohesive narrative. In fact, the more I reflect, the more it seems that the thread holding all that I wish to convey together is a series of sharp contrasts that I have borne witness to, participated in, and attempted—with mixed success—to process.

The backdrop for all this—Cape Town, South Africa—is in some ways one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Table Mountain, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is visible from almost every vantage point in the metropolitan area, and beaches (apparently the setting for Shark Week) surround the city. Eucalyptus and palm trees, British-colonial architecture, striking panoramas and even Baboons, abound.

Interview with Van Havig

Madeline Wagar ’16, Assistant Editor with Works & Days, interviewed Van Havig '92, Master Brewer and Founder at Gigantic Brewing in Portland, OR.

Why beer? Why brewing? How did you get into it?

I am a class of ‘92 graduate. At the time at Reed, there was the general feeling that what you do when you get out of Reed was go to grad school. So right out of Reed I went to a Ph.D. program in Minnesota, studying economics. I did that for two and half years and as I went through I lost faith in economics. I was interested in it as a social science, not as business. Then I realized economics wasn’t great as a social science. I dropped out of grad school, and I wanted to do something that allowed me to work more with my hands. I am a very mechanical person. I was still in Minnesota and I decided to try to get a job at a brewery.

Reed Winter Externship Reflections 14: Number Four, Conquest Capital, Ahyan Panjwani

The heavens had already started to rumble and give the East Coast a hard time as I flew into NYC a few days after New Year. The first day of work I took the wrong bus and ended up walking 31 blocks down Madison Avenue. Although it wasn’t the most pleasing thing, it was an experience on its own – weaving my way through herds of humans that flock midtown Manhattan every morning. Seeing those skyscrapers tower above me, the financial powerhouses of the world, was an enthralling sight.

I strode into the Conquest Capital office and all I could hear was the buzz of CNBC market tickers signaling stocks, futures, currencies, commodities and what have you. Conquest is a hedge fund involved in trading futures and currencies based on signals from the mathematical mazes underlying their strategies. As a result, most of my work was based on grasping the very elements that make up a trading strategy. I was using a combination of MS Excel and Visual Basic (VBA) to build my model which revolved around what is called a “moving average” in the financial world.

Another part of this great experience was observing traders strike out deals and place orders depending on market conditions. The release of job numbers and retail industry figures for the holiday season coincided with the time I spent there, and I got to see Economics 201 (which I had taken in the fall semester before) at work. I got a real sense of market volatilities and how significantly market indicators can impact trades in S&P 500 and the world currency market.

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