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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Corporate alumni offer students networking opportunity

On Feb. 6, students will have the opportunity to personally meet and network with five corporate professionals. From 8 to 10 p.m., the Finance & Investment Club (FIC) will be holding their sixth-annual Career Panel in 1003 Giedt.

“This is a great place to meet very powerful people,” said Mike Eidlin, a fourth-year economics and Japanese double-major who attended the panel last year. “This is your chance as a Davis student to put your foot in the door.”

Eidlin said these business professionals typically only pay attention to target schools — the renowned business schools like Harvard, Princeton, Yale and others.

Although UC Davis’ Graduate School of Management rapidly rose last year in Forbes’ ranking of MBA schools, they largely cater to only graduate students.

“There’s not that much help around the campus for business students,” said Andy Feldman, president of FIC and a double-major in economics and communication.

At only six years old, FIC is the oldest business club on campus. Fourth-year managerial economics major Jimmy McCutcheon, vice president, said UC Davis never had a club strictly for business — there had only been business fraternities.

However, in 2007 students Charles Chen and Dinesh Ganapathiappan founded FIC to unite UC Davis’ top finance students. According to Feldman, at FIC students could help each other succeed in the financial world, despite coming from a non-target school, by increasing their opportunities to network.

According to their LinkedIn profiles, Chen is currently an associate at Fifth Street Management LLC, and Ganapathiappan is a consultant / officer at State Street Investment Analytics.

“Everyone who has ever heard of the club, or who has not, should come to the Career Panel,” Feldman said.

The visiting panelists range from vice presidents and managing members to founders and CEOs. Four of the five panelists are UC Davis alumni. McCutcheon said the guests will talk about their past experiences and how they went from Davis to their current positions. At the end of the presentation, attendants will have 15 to 30 minutes for one-on-one talks with the panelists.

“It could lead to an internship or more connections down the road,” McCutcheon said.

Feldman said this portion of the panel lets attendants exchange business cards, shake hands and make an impression.

“So dress to impress,” Feldman said. “Come in full business garb.”

Feldman adds that, in the past, attendants have come from Sac State, Berkeley and surrounding areas just to meet these panelists and expand their networks.

Feldman and McCutcheon have actively made efforts to advertise the Career Panel. He said flyers have been posted on cork boards around campus and handed out to interested students. Various members of the club have also been tabling and making speeches in economics classes.

“We created a Facebook event and invited hundreds of people who we think would benefit from [it],” Feldman said.

The Career Panel is one of the few FIC meetings open to the public. Other events are limited to members only — and FIC has high standards according to McCutcheon. At every meeting, members are expected to act in a professional manner and dress business-casual. To find the best candidates, he said potential members must go through an application and interview process.

“That includes a cover letter, resume and a one-page stock report,” McCutcheon said. “We’re looking for driven people who want to succeed in the business world.”

Feldman said he and McCutcheon both wanted to be part of a tight-knit club that could teach its members how to invest, enter the job market and find internship opportunities. Both were admitted to FIC through the same application process that students complete today.

However, Feldman said even non-business majors can experience significant personal growth from the club. He said every student should learn to make connections with people who may become assets later in life, discover different industries and understand what it means to be financially intelligent.

“Everyone should understand the basics of finance and investing,” Feldman said.

He also said it’s crucial for even non-business students to learn how to budget, save and invest their money for financial security — whether it be through a personal account, a 401(k) or 403(b) plan or whatever suits their needs.

“We exist to teach those interested in investing some of the best techniques to do so,” Feldman said.

Without the Finance and Investment Club, Feldman said students can miss out on an opportunity to learn about investing at a young age — which, he said is the best time in a person’s life to start.

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