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Westminster College Economics and Business Department Host Winter Analyst Program

Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College's Department of Economics and Business hosted the inaugural Winter Analyst Program Jan. 26.

Seven students successfully defended a financial analysis of a publicly-traded company in front of a panel of expert judges. The program is an experiential learning event designed to replicate an internship on Wall Street. Student intern analysts review over 1,000 pages of publicly-available financial documents and use real-world methods to prepare a market standard financial analysis of a publicly-traded company under the supervision of a professional financial analyst.

"This program is a unique experiential learning opportunity that confers valuable real-world experience on the student interns. The work load is daunting, but they all did very well," said alumni Ben Nelson `06, a Youngstown, Ohio native and a lead credit analyst with Moody's Corporation in New York City.

"The unique aspect of this kind of program is how it replicates the unstructured nature of financial decision making," said Dr. Daniel Fischmar, professor of economics and business. "It forces students to synthesize a tremendous amount of material, critically evaluate what is relevant, and reach a reasoned conclusion. Initially, students are a bit overwhelmed by the task, but as they work through the issues they gain a self-confidence that can only come from mastering real-world, ambiguous problems."

"It was extremely valuable experience that only a select few can receive if they're lucky enough," said Harry Bittle, a junior financial economics major. "Through strong alumni support and dedication, we were able to bring an opportunity like this to Westminster."

Students in Fischmar's fall financial economics course had the opportunity to participate in the Westminster College Bond Rating competition, and Kevin Winner, Jr. analyzed a defense contracting firm this summer.

In addition to traditional academic offerings, the Department of Economics and Business organizes an array of programs to help students obtain real-world experience in preparation for entering the job market or graduate study. These include alumni and peer mentoring, alumni networking events, career-oriented panel discussions, mock interviews conducted by trained alumni professionals, and experiential learning opportunities integrated into traditional academic courses.

The event was organized by Fischmar with assistance from Nelson. The panel of judges included Fischmar; Nelson; Jesse Ligo `82, professor of accounting; Christy Nelson `06, Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers University; Adam Griffith `11, classics teacher; Stephanie Tracey `11, financial analyst with FedEx; Ryan Brucker `12, financial analyst with PNC Bank; Cody Donaldson `12, accountant with Deloitte; and Tom Nelson, a senior financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial. Tracey was a member of the winning team in the 2010 Westminster College Bond Rating Competition. Donaldson and Brucker won the 2011 bond rating competition.

Recent graduates have also found employment with accounting firms such as Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and Schneider Downs; financial institutions such as Bank of New York -Mellon, Moody's Corporation, and PNC Bank; and other major corporations such as Alcoa, Bayer, and FedEx.

Westminster graduates have recently held or are currently holding six seats on corporate boards of directors, over 40 presidential positions, and more than 30-vice-presidential positions in corporations such as Aetna, Alcoa, Citigroup, Columbia Gas, Fireman's Fund, General Electric, Liberty Mutual, Mellon Bank and PNC.

Contact Fischmar at (724) 946-7162 or email for additional information.