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Westminster College Economics and Business Department Host Winter Analyst Program

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Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College's Department of Economics and Business hosted the second annual Winter Analyst Program Feb. 7.

Eight students successfully defended a financial analysis of a publicly-traded manufacturing firm 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 more than 1,000 pages of publicly-available financial documents and use real-world methods to prepare a market standard financial analysis of a publicly-traded firm under the supervision of a professional financial analyst.

"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.

Fischmar continued, "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. The exercise crystalizes the best elements of a liberal arts education; the ability to think critically, reason logically, and articulate a defensible conclusion."

"The students did a great job with the analysis and an even better job presenting it to the panel of professionals," said alumni Ben Nelson `06, a Youngstown, Ohio native and assistant vice president at Moody's Corporation in New York City.

Participants included:  Rebecca Tomson, a senior business administration and English major, Harry Bittle, Zachary Galasso and Tom Turnbull, all senior financial economics majors; Travis Kelly, a senior business administration major, and Jeffrey Seitz, a junior financial economics and accounting major.  Nicholas David Smith, a junior psychology major, and sophomore Raechel Pusateri, an English and history major, also took part.  

The event was organized by Fischmar with assistance from Nelson. The panel of judges included Fischmar; Nelson; Anthony Colwell `08, analyst with Travelers; Kyle English, executive director at Community Connections; Dr. David Goldberg, Westminster associate professor of philosophy; Michael Gorman `12, a juris doctor candidate at Cornell University; Dr. Russell Martin,Westminster College professor of history; Jackie Meade, director of the Westminster Career Center; Tom Nelson, a financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial; and Phil Petraglia `83, chief financial officer for Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse.

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.

Recent graduates have 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.