April 1, 2015 – With a GDP of over $17 trillion dollars, the U.S. is the largest economy in the world. Despite the 2008 financial meltdown, the US dollar has, and continues to be most trusted currency throughout the globe; helping to make the US financial markets the place where investors turn to for security. As APMP students look to enter the world’s largest and most trusted financialsystem it’s important to venture outside the classroom and learn from professionals first hand. This past week APMP seniors Joel Florek, Yi Yuan, and Yinan Chen when to Detroit, MI for Engage 2015 to do just that.
ENGAGE is a two day international investment education symposium. The goal at Engage is to help provide a level of insight into our financial system that students can’t learn from sitting in classrooms. To accomplish this goal Engage brought in some of the top financial professionals in the industry to host Q&A discussions.
For example, Dennis P. Lockhart, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and a 2015 voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee spoke on the Fed’s economic policy decisions from the depths of the 2008 economic meltdown to today. Chaired by Janet Yellen, the FOMC decisions significantly impact not just the US economy, but the global economy. Ultimately Mr. Lockhart made the argument that the actions of the FOMC will be seen as vital to turning around the US economy. He added that within the next 6 to 12 months the FOMC will begin to ease out of its current actions which have been taken to prop up the US financial system. One unique comment from Mr. Lockhart was his cautioning of high US government debt. Due to low interest rates the US has had the ability to borrow high quantities of short term debt requiring small interest payments. As these debts mature, the US will be forced to refinance at higher interest rates hindering its ability to pay off debts.
Additional keynote speakers include Jeffrey Kleintop, the Chief Global Strategist for Charles Schwab and Co., Fred Tomczyk, the President and CEO of TD Ameritrade, and Scott Powers the President and CEO of State Street Global Advisors, which oversees $2.4 trillion in traded funds. Students learned their trading strategies, ideas on the direction of the economy, and career advice to help direct students into the right career paths.
The second day of conference allowed students to break up into smaller sessions that provided more Q&A opportunity. For example, students were able to learn about the CAN SLIM trading strategy, venture capital, hedge funds and received targeted career advice. Thinking back on the Engage experience, Joel Florek said he realized the field of finance is constantly evolving and there is no clear definition as to what one will be doing as a finance professional. Florek said “there is significant room to constantly be learning and changing within the profession. Ultimately, as a finance student ready to go into industry the Engage conference helped to make the lessons learned in the classroom more real, and gain exposure to the flexible ideology that exists amongst professionals.”
This article was written by APMP members Yinan Chen, Joel Florek, and Yinan Chen.