Education on vacation

By: Laura Grimm

While some students sipped fruity drinks on sandy beaches, the financial management association (FMA) got a taste of the Big Apple.

Seven members of the FMA spent their spring break exploring New York City’s whirlwind financial sector, visiting investment giants at Wall Street and Bloomberg. Junior Joseph Tjosvold, president of FMA, viewed the trip as a way to gain experience for future careers.

“The goal of the trip was to gain experience because Fargo-Moorhead is relatively small compared to a lot of cities in the world,” Tjosvold said.

The finance group attended the national FMA Finance Leaders’ Conference on March 9 and 10, an annual event that takes place in a different city every year. The students learned from finance professionals through panel discussions and workshops. 

“My favorite part of the leadership conference was the professional development speaker,” Tjosvold said. “I’m not your average finance kid. I’m more of an entrepreneur, sales-type guy. So I really enjoyed the professional development side of things, getting yourself out there and networking.”

Minnesota State University Moorhead’s chapter of the FMA was started only last spring, so they worked hard to be able to afford going on this trip.

“I think what really sets us apart is we kind of act like a business,” Tjosvold said. “For our fundraising efforts, we are more professional than your average student organization that might do bake sales, for instance. We sold two sponsorships for $2,500 (combined), and we’ve also sold nine résumé books and those are $250 each. We sell to financial institutions, so we go and meet CEOs of banks and we present to them.”

Their hard work paid off, allowing them to tour serious players in the financial sector.

“We went to Bloomberg. Bloomberg is a finance-tech company, one of the biggest in the world,” Tjosvold said. “So actually MSUM just invested in a Bloomberg computer. And it just kind of gives the finance students a little bit more professional experience with the type of computer you’re going to be working with if you were to go into investments. So that was really fun to go to their headquarters. We had a private tour from a connection of a connection.”

Sophomore Jenna Kalthoff was one of the seven members who went on the trip. One of her favorite moments was learning how to dress professionally.

“I really liked the view off of the Empire State because you can see everything, but then we also went to Indochino and Bloomingdale’s and they dressed us up,” Kalthoff said. “The guys got fitted for suits, and the girls, they did our makeup and said, ‘You should wear this for your professional career.’ That was really fun because it was kind of like, ‘We’re just dressing you up.’”

The group also enjoyed doing more relaxing things, like attending Broadway plays and visiting nearby museums, in addition to touring the United Nations building and Wall Street.

Kalthoff described the trip as eye-opening since it made her think more about her future.

“It kind of raised a little more questions because originally I thought I’d just go back to central Minnesota, but now seeing New York, and seeing it’s kind of fun—I don’t know if I’d live there, but it raises questions as to where I’d actually want to go in my career because I think it’s good to travel. So maybe it would be good to get out of central Minnesota,” Kalthoff said.

Tjosvold used the trip to network, which he believed would help him more than a typical college spring break trip.

“The business world that we live in now is ‘Can you get your name out there, how do you set yourself apart?’” Tjosvold said. “For instance, the guy that we met at Bloomberg, I’ve spoken with him about an opportunity to do sales at Bloomberg. So just those types of things that you get to experience on an educational field trip are more beneficial than going to South Padre or something.”

Kalthoff agreed that using her spring break to go on an educational trip was the smarter choice.

“I think a lot of people go on vacations because it gets you away from school and you can relax a little bit,” Kalthoff said. “Going on an educational vacation, you still get to relax, and you still get to see new sights, but you also get to learn about yourself in a way and think more, so I would prefer to go on an educational one versus just lying on a beach.” s

The FMA hopes to go on more trips in the future. Kalthoff said she would go on the next trip with no hesitation, and she encouraged others to attend.

“You get to meet the other members of the group; you become kind of close-knit,” Kalthoff said. “Thinking about your future is something I personally don’t do very much, so it pushes you to see more of the world, expand more, and see Broadway plays. But also, it allows you to think about what you want to do and where you want to live and how you want to dress and what career you want to have.”

Kalthoff knew she would learn more in New York City, but she did not know how much it would affect her.

“I knew where we’d be going,” Kalthoff said, “but I didn’t think I’d get as much out of it as I did.”

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