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Making good business sense from Chicago field trip Miscellaneous

Our trip to Chicago was a success and we all made it back safely to the RIT campus at 1:15 a.m. Saturday, after spending the two previous whirlwind days visiting companies in Chicago’s financial district. No one was more relieved than RIT Financial Management Association advisor Professor Patricia Wollan from RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business who consistently was “counting heads” to make sure all 10 students were banded together and no one was left behind at the cupcake shop More near North Side Chicago. YUM!

Some students would have liked to have stayed behind in the Windy City including finance and economics major Mark Overacker, who was very interested in investment trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group and finance major Alexander Robinson, who would have enjoyed spending more time at the last stop on our itinerary—the private equity real estate investment firm of Walton Street Capital.

Not surpisingly, the financial mood in Chicago was upbeat with the news of the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching the 10,000 range—the first time in over a year. But the students were well aware of the volatility of the market and asked some tough questions at Crown Imports, a joint venture of Constellation Brands and Grupo Modelo that imports, distributes and markets brands such as Corona Extra, Modelo Especial and St. Pauli Girl lager.

We met John Utter, senior vice president-on-premise, and two of our international students, Vanya Kovacheva (MBA ’09) from Bulgaria, and finance and entrepreneurship major Zinnia Pasricha (MBA in 2010) from India, presented a detailed analysis of Crown Import’s northeast competitor, The Boston Beer Company.

At Boeing we met Courtney Thompson, director of internal services communications and Ruud Roggekamp, assistant treasurer, who gave us an overview of the world’s leading aerospace company and largest manufacturer of military aircraft and commercial jetliners. (We flew on Southwest and I felt better being on a Boeing plane:) How could we not be impressed: Boeing employs more than 158,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries—including many RIT alumni!

However, one of the most memorable moments of the trip was meeting Terry Duffy, executive chairman of CME (and friend of RIT accounting professor Daniel Tessoni) who had just returned from a business trip to Asia, was not feeling well, but still came in to see the students at an impromptu late-day meeting. He spoke at length about everything from agricultural commodities and alternative investment products such as weather and real estate, to CME’s Globex electronic trading platform.

But better yet, Duffy gave each student personalized attention, offering tips and advice about their career aspirations.

Who could ask for anything more? And by the time we left the land of Oprah and entered the Golden Memories bus that delivered us back home to Lowenthal, we knew corporate America had become a classroom for all of us, and something else too.

As Jare Allocco Allen from RIT’s finance and administration department said, “I’m amazed. Everyone is still smiling from the experience and we are all still friends.”

RIT’s Financial Management Association between appointments in Chicago

RIT’s Financial Management Association between appointments in Chicago


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