Into the Field
“We visited all four rooms of the NYSE. It's easy to believe this is the world's largest stock exchange."
If a picture is worth a thousand words, than how many words would you trade for an actual visit to a United States financial hub – New York City, Chicago, Seattle Portland, Denver or San Diego?
You’d hobnob with alumni who help run Fortune 500 companies or maybe launched small businesses of their own. You’d tour trading floors and stroll with executives through corporate offices, hearing their wisdom, how they got where they are, and having them answer your questions.
“It’s worth so very much,” said senior Ann Chadderdon, Coeur d’Alene, veteran of five field trips during her four years studying finance at the University of Idaho’s College of Business and Economics (CBE) and chief investment officer of the college’s A.D. & J.E. Davis Student Investment Management Group.
“How else would I get into conversations with and bring home business cards of UI alums who have made it to the top?” asked Chadderdon. “On my own I couldn’t get insider tours of corporate heavyweights like Nike and Columbia in Portland or Rothschild and Guggenheim in New York City.”
Chadderdon is due to graduate in December and has interviewed for a job with one of Idaho’s largest businesses. “I couldn’t do all this on my own. Field trips are an amazing opportunity.”
The faculty-led field trips, which usually occur over two to three days, are often sponsored by student clubs or are available to students in specific programs. For example, this year, the Davis Group traveled to Denver and New York City; students in the Barker Capital Management and Trading Program visited Portland; and the Graue Scholars ventured to Chicago.
“Each student in the Davis Group follows a different financial sector. At the NYSE, we each got to spend time with market makers for each sector.”
– Ann Chadderdon
Student groups also have opportunities to take excursions abroad. Past international destinations include the Philippines, Italy, Macedonia, China, Japan and Spain.
“These trips help students mature,” said Magdy Noguera, who teaches international finance and mentored the Davis group trip to Denver last March. There, students saw a Denver Nuggets NBA basketball game and rode the light rail to visit alumnus Jared Stohner ’03, a systems director for Newmont Mining Corp.
“As freshmen, many students are naïve and shy,” Noguera added. “These trips get them excited. They must prepare and ask questions, network, dress properly, be polite and make presentations about their college work. Four years later, they’re mature business students, well met, with clear ideas of what they can do on their own.”
Field trips also give students from small towns a comfortable way to step into big city life.
“My family did very little traveling during my childhood,” said Joseph Burchard ’09, a Graue Scholar and one of the CBE’s top academically achieving students whose tuition and part of an annual field trip were covered by a scholarship endowment. “Trips with various groups during college introduced me to a much larger world.” Burchard’s field trip to production facilities in Shanghai “quickly convinced me of the necessity of spending a semester abroad,” which he did, in Bangkok, Thailand.
According to a recent survey, approximately 85 percent of CBE students participate in some form of field trip or company visit.
“Increasingly we’re viewing experiential learning — where students get outside of textbooks and classrooms and into business realities — as giving our students an advantage in the career marketplace,” said CBE Dean Mario Reyes. “Learning journeys are an important part of that.”