Friday, April 26, 2013

Personal Finance: Investing for your future

Executive-in-residence William Lewis lectures to Personal Finance students

“It’ll all add up in the end,” said Theresa Tran, a senior at the University of Kansas. “Finance 101 has taught me to think about my budget and how to plan for the future.”

Tran, a biochemistry major from Liberty, Mo., will attend optometry school in the fall. She learned about the course through a friend who had taken the course and recommended it to her.

“I couldn’t have taken it at a better time because I now understand I can protect my belongings when I move to a new city with renter’s insurance. I even know how to check my tire pressure,” she laughed.

Personal Finance, or FIN 101, taught by executive-in-residence William E. Lewis, was first offered in 2007. The course addresses personal topics that are relatable to college student’s everyday life, and how they can plan for the future.

“Finance 101 gets personal with students and expects them to think constructively about real life financial issues,” said Adam Casady, a teacher’s assistant for the course and Master of Accounting student from Lawrence. “It introduces students to material that will be applicable for the rest of their lives.”

The material covered throughout the semester brings attention to other every day bits of life when calling on students to test what they already know.

Casady said he was introduced to new material because he never took the class as an undergraduate.
“I was learning the material as the course went on. It was a lot of stuff I didn’t know either, so I was basically learning it along with the students,” he said.

Tran said she remembers the day that the students were all asked if they knew where to find their tire pressure, if they knew the type of car insurance they have.

“I was shocked when he said that credit cards are safer to use than debit cards as long as you’re responsible,” she said. “It was a really fun class that was engaging and useful. And knowing I have a lot of debt in the making over the next few years, I’m confident that I now know what that really means and how I should manage it all.”

FIN 101 is currently enrolling for fall 2013. The class is open to all KU students.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Alumnus named one of the best in his field

A School of Business alumnus is listed among the best buyside analysts in the world. Andrew Carlson earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the school in 2011 and now works for Whetstone Capital Advisors in Mission Woods, Kan.

In less than two years with the company, he caught the attention of SumZero, an online networking community of hedge fund, mutual fund and private equity professionals. SumZero recently released a list of the top 14 buyside analysts.

“I was surprised and honored by the peer recognition associated with being selected for the SumZero list,” said Carlson, whose average peer rating is 9.66 out of 10, the highest on the list.

Among the elite company in which Carlson now finds himself are analysts from the business schools of Stanford, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Senior finance student wins top award

Each year, the Kansas City chapter of Financial Executives International grants academic awards to students majoring in accounting or finance. FEI Kansas City awarded senior finance student Daniel Bjornson the Oracle-FEI Excellence Award during an awards ceremony April 9. The award, worth $2,500, is the highest honor given.
Daniel Bjornson, KU finance senior

“It’s a nice recognition,” Bjornson said, “but in addition to the money, I will get invitations to future FEI events where I can talk with CFOs and other top executives and learn about their career paths.”

The FEI awards are given to students who show outstanding academic performance, evidence of leadership potential and service to the college and community. Bjornson was in charge of The Big Event at KU last year, a grassroots community service project.

“Last year, participation rose from 500 (in 2011) to more than 2,000 students,” Bjornson said. “I’m proud to say that I was involved.”

As a sophomore, Bjornson brought Project LIVELY (Life, Interest and Vigor Entering Later Years) to the University of Kansas. Project LIVELY is a Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department program that assists elderly residents of the community and helps them stay in their homes as long as possible. Bjornson recognized the opportunity to help and knew that many KU students would be willing to lend a hand.

Bjornson is also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, the Finance Scholars Program and the KU Honors Program. His involvement in the community and the university is a characteristic he encourages new business students to adopt.

“Take advantage of all the opportunities the School of Business and KU have to offer,” he said. “You’ll never know if you like something unless you try it, so try new things and get involved.”

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Two business students selected as 2013 Men of Merit

Each year, the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity at the University of Kansas recognizes KU men who challenge norms, lead by example and contribute to KU and the Lawrence community. Among the 15 men selected for 2013 are two students from the School of Business: Eric Driscoll and Thomas Plummer.

Driscoll is a senior in accounting who will graduate in May and Plummer is a junior majoring in management and leadership.

“I definitely caught me off guard,” Driscoll said. “I know fellow students who have gotten it in years past and I always thought it was a great goal.”

He said the many organizations and events he’s been a part of have expanded his horizon. One of those events is LeaderShape, a week-long leadership enhancement program. Participants learn about their own strengths and weaknesses and about other students who attend. Driscoll said the week made a big impact on him.

“You realize that even though we, on the outside, look so different or are involved in different activities,” he said, “there are so many things that are the same.”

Driscoll also served as vice president of administration for Student Union Activities and treasurer for Mortar Board honor society.

Thomas Plummer is no stranger to student organizations either. Last summer he studied abroad with the CIMBA program and he is currently the chief of staff in the Student Senate.

“The experience has taught me enormous amounts about dealing with people and understanding the ideas and concerns of groups that may not usually be heard,” he said about his time in the Student Senate. “It’s about being as inclusive as possible and helping to enhance the student experience at KU.”

The honor of being named a 2013 Man of Merit was also unexpected for Plummer, but he’s not the only one from his home town of Towanda, Kan., on the list. One of his friends from high school, Coulter Cranston, received recognition as well.

“I was unbelievably excited and honored to be selected,” Plummer said. “It’s very humbling to be in the same club as many friends and mentors of mine.”

Both students are familiar with making decisions that will have an impact even after they graduate.

“Making change happen is like dropping a pebble into a pond,” Plummer said. “The action doesn’t need to be big, dramatic and obvious. The importance are the ripples that are created.”

Joining SUA was one of the best decisions Driscoll said he’s made while at KU because it teaches students how to interact with people and how to wisely manage time. He stayed involved with it because of his experience as a freshman.

“The executive committee we had when I was a freshman really made a positive impact on everyone involved,” Driscoll said. “I truly enjoyed it and wanted to have that same impact while I was there.”

Both men realize the meaning of this recognition and see it as encouragement.

“It’s a friendly reminder to show you that you’re doing things in the right light,” he said, “and to continue in that way and it’ll help lead you to be successful in the future.”

Plummer has one more summer before he graduates and is currently looking for an internship.

“This honor will hopefully tell potential employers that I am not your normal, cut and dry college student,” he said. “I don’t think it alone will get me a job, but it allows them to see more into my personality and who I am as a person.”

The Men of Merit program is in its fifth year and complements the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity’s annual Women of Distinction calendar.