Ten Jr. Bills and two Assistant Principals woke up well before the sun had risen on Nov. 18 to board a 6:00 a.m. flight to New York. Embarking on the Jr. Bills on Wall Street trip, the travelers shrugged off their sleepiness and prepared for three days of nonstop adventure in the Big Apple. The purpose of the trip is to provide SLUH students with an opportunity to meet alumni in New York and learn about various careers in the financial world, as well as experiencing the city as a tourist. In its seventh year, the trip opens the doors of Wall Street and allows students to gain a behind the scenes look at the finance world.
“The biggest benefit is to see what life is like, learn the importance of networking and to have a real immersive experience of the lingo and sort-of life on Wall Street,” said Assistant Principal for Academics Kevin Foy.
Along with the sights of Morgan Stanley and the NYSE, the students saw a few of the main tourist attractions in Manhattan, including Broadway and the 9/11 memorial. Filling both the camera rolls and the conversions of students, New York proved to be a more than gracious host over the course of the three days.
Landing early Thursday, the group, after a brief delay waiting for their van, traveled to Alua Capital, to meet with Tom Purcell ’89 and Jonathan Holden ’06. Purcell, who started his own hedge fund, provided insights on the benefit of hard work and risk while Holden gave a helpful presentation on private equity.
“I really enjoyed getting off the plane and going straight to Mr. Purcell,” said senior John Loretta. “It gave me a great feel of life in New York and a great experience.”
Following their first meeting, the Jr. Bills ate lunch on the go before arriving at Morgan Stanley, the second stop of the trip. Meeting with Jeff Hoffmeister ’88 and Pat Haskell ’90, the group was given an insider look at one of the largest banks in America. Hoffmeister talked to the students about financial technology before taking a number of questions about the path he took from SLUH. After the meeting with Hoffmeister, the Jr. Bills went right into a meeting with Haskell, a Managing Director who is in charge of the bond division at Morgan Stanley. Learning about his years of playing tackle for SLUH football to his run-ins with a three-star admiral, the group from SLUH soaked in Haskell's history as well as his career path.
“Meeting with Haskell was a good experience because he was probably more personable than anyone else we met with,” said sophomore Tim Browdy. “He spoke less about the finance world and more about the character requirements to be on Wall Street. I enjoyed listening to how his experiences at SLUH have helped him in the finance world.”
Following his informal Q&A, Haskell provided the Jr. Bills with one of the most eye-opening experiences of the trip. He took the 10 students out onto the bond trading floor of Morgan Stanley where groups of two students were paired off with a bond trader. An inside look into the day to day activity of traders was a phenomenal experience only available to these students through their meeting with Haskell.
“The bond trading floor was straight out of a movie,” said Browdy. “It was pretty funny to watch and would take me years to figure out what goes on in that room.”
Finished with all the meetings for Thursday, the Jr. Bills took a quick break at the hotel before heading to Little Italy for a dinner of pizza. From there, the students went to Broadway to see Wicked.
“I was really impressed with Wicked,” said junior Ryan Kellogg. “The music was phenomenal and although it was very long, I was engaged the whole time.”
The following day would prove to be just slightly more relaxing than Thursday. For the first half of the day, the Jr. Bills stayed at the hotel and met with Micahel McDonough ’90 of Santander Bank, a bank based in Spain. McDonough offered a perspective on running a business day to day.
“I thought it was really interesting getting the perspective of someone who works not only in the United States, but who works around the world,” said Kellogg. “For the first half of the trip, we really talked to people who were working in either private equity or investment banking so to hear someone in banking was completely different.”
After the meeting, the students had a quick break and decided to travel to Central Park to take in the views. From here, the Jr. Bills then went to Willow Tree to meet with Tim Lower ’‘95, who provided lunch of pizza again for the students and an overview of his life in finance.
“He was in mezzanine financing and it was really cool to see how he built this huge business but he still seemed to be a very down to earth guy,” said Loretta. “It was cool to see what you can do after SLUH and the opportunities it can give you.”
The group had one more meeting, with Brian Fitzsimmons ’96 who works for J.P Morgan. Following the last meeting, the Jr. Bills made a brief stop in M&M’s World before heading to Xavier High School in Chelsea for a Young Alumni Reception. With a dinner of pizza again, the students met with Michael Mudd, Mitch Klug, and Truman Stephens, who gave advice on the various topics of the banking world, law school, and old football traditions.
“It was interesting to see kids close to our age find their way on Wall Street,” said Loretta. “It was a great connection and great to hear their stories which helped give us an idea on how to find our footing.”
The reception has been a part of the trip all seven years and allows students to connect with various alumni in New York, ranging from law students to finance workers.
After another day filled with meetings, the Jr. Bills were rewarded with a tourist day on Saturday. Traveling to the 9/11 memorial, the Raging Bull on Wall Street, and Chinatown, the students took in all the sites the city had to offer. Having to guide themselves to each destination, the Jr. Bills took a few wrong turns along the way and had to be directed back on path by Foy.
“I think it is really important for people to take ownership,” said Foy. “To be in New York making decisions about where to go, you’ll remember it better. And honestly, getting around in a city such as New York, is a skill. Plus, it's hilarious to watch everyone try to figure it out.”
Minus the few missed turns, the day was a great way to end the trip in New York.
“I never saw the 9/11 memorial. That was pretty powerful,” said Loretta. “And I really liked going to Chinatown. I bought a fake Rolex which was pretty fun.”
The students were grateful for the chaperones who made the trip possible.
“I was really grateful for the fact that Dr. Foy and Mr. Linhares were always with us at the meetings, making sure we knew where we were going and they sacrificed two and a half days to be with us, which was really cool,” said Kellogg.
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