Saturday, November 17, 2018

Marquette’s Finance Students Traveled to Chicago on Friday, November 16th and Visited Alumni at Three Financial Firms

Semi-Annual Marquette FMA Student Club Visits Included: William Blair & Company, Capital One, and Morningstar

On Friday, November 16th Dr. David Krause and 47 Marquette finance students braved the snowy conditions to travel to Chicago to visit three financial firms located in the Loop. Departing at 6:30 am during the second snow event of the season, the bus trip to Chicago took nearly three hours. Spirits remained high and the students were treated to a wonderful day in Chicago.

The first visit was at William Blair & Company - a financial services firm focusing on investment banking, investment management, and private wealth management. 
William Blair & Company

Our host, Robert Duwa, arranged for an agenda that provided the students with insights into the functions and culture of this independent and employee-owned investment bank that operates in more than 20 offices worldwide. The new headquarters building located at Wacker Driver and Randolph Street in Chicago is an amazing structure. The students enjoyed the tour of the building and the amazing views from the 46th floor of the structure overlooking the Chicago River and Loop.

Bob Duwa

Bob Duwa, CFA, Partner, and Head of Institutional Client Relationship Management served as the event host.  Dan Niswonger (Marquette alumnus and an Associate in the Investment Banking function) provided an overview of Blair’s capabilities – he also offered excellent career advise to the freshmen, sophomores and juniors about classes they should consider taking at Marquette. 

The next speaker was Tyler Glover, Director of Consulting Services, who talked about Blair’s Private Wealth Management business.  

Corey Tobin (Partner, Research Analyst and Director of Research) talked about Blair’s Investment Management career path. He provided the students with excellent insights about where the profession is headed – with a strong emphasis on the need to understand and embrace technology.

Dave Kucera, Capital One
Bob Duwa wrapped up the morning session with further insights into a career in Investment Management along the client service and sales path. The students left with a highly favorable impression of William Blair & Company – each of the speakers emphasized the firm’s emphasis on ethics and hiring people who fit the culture of this nearly 90-year-old financial institution that is embracing the changing occurring in the global economy.

Image result for capital one building chicagoThe next stop on the field trip was to Capital One where the students met Marquette alumni who oversee Capital One’s Securities Financial Institutions Group (FIG). The students heard from Dave Kucera, Head of FIG & ABS Banking, Chicago Market President – and Kevin Gibbons, Head of FIG Lender Finance, Managing Director.
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Digital Lab

Capital One is one of the largest financial services firms in the U.S. with nearly 48,000 employees and revenues in excess of $27.2B – and they are the 6th largest lender in the country. It would be unfair to think of Capital One as only a credit card company (3rd largest) – they are the largest U.S. direct bank and 2nd largest bank auto lender in the U.S.

Dave Kucera pointed out that Capital One is a leader in the FinTech revolution occurring within the industry. Lending by less traditional financial institutions has been growing rapidly and innovative technology-driven firms are taking share from old-style banking institutions in many sectors (i.e. Quicken Loans - Rocket Mortgage). He concluded by talking about the firm’s strong data analytics and underwriting capabilities in the non-traditional lending space – setting the stage for the students’ tour of Capital One’s Digital Lab.

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Colin Plunkett, Morningstar
It wouldn’t be fair to describe the work environment within the product development efforts of Capital One’s Digital Lab – the students needed to experience it. The workplace setting has been created to attract and cater to the Millennial and Gen Z professionals. 
The tour was eye-opening and inspiring for many of the students who had an opportunity to see the people behind Capital One’s innovative banking and retail financial products and services. The Marquette finance students had an opportunity to see that FinTech is more than just a tag line – it is real and occurring within some of the leading financial firms in the U.S.

The third and final visit of the day took the students to another technologically innovative financial firm – Morningstar. This firm is a leader in global investment research and investment management, which has been headquartered in Chicago since it was founded by Joe Mansueto in 1982. Our host, Colin Plunkett (Marquette 2015), provided an interesting array of speakers (all Marquette alumni) to talk about various products and services Morningstar provides.
Marquette students at Morningstar

Colin Plunkett provided the students with an interesting session on the excess cash margin, a metric that he uses when evaluating the relationship between a company’s operating income and its operating cash flow.  He gave concrete examples of how the excess cash margin can provide an early warning to analysts that a company may soon experience earnings troubles. 

The students were also provided a brief tour of the facilities, which are also highly innovative and supportive of a diverse and youthful workplace.

While the trip back to campus again took nearly three hours, the students enjoyed the day and appreciated the efforts of all Marquette alumni who opened their doors. We are looking forward to our spring trip to Chicago – hopefully with better weather!

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