NYC Finance week

Today is the last day of the trip that me and some of my friends have spent in New York City. We are very happy, that we could take part of the program, as  New York module is something that we will never forget. It was just simply perfect. We had a very good time in class, listening the guest speakers or going to company visits that gave us some understanding on how the business life is in a global city. We also used very efficiently our free time by visiting the “must see”-s, seeing a real Broadway show or by having fun in a rooftop bar.

The topic of the 2nd week was finance. We have met many interesting, experienced and wise professionals. We have got many insight and advices, and not only regarding finance but also regarding our career. For me the most important messages of the week was that

  1. We have to be passionate about our job as this is the only way how we can be outstanding, and
  2. failures and mistakes are important, and failure is not a shame. The earlier we fail, and learn that we are vulnerable the faster we became better professionals.

We have received the most “wisdom” from Zephyr management. I liked very much how the two gentlemen shared with us their experience and gave us advices regarding our career management. They have advised to start actively managing our career early, build network and get a mentor, who can help us at the beginning of our career. We have to develop an area of expertise that distinguishes us from the others. Putting ourselves into situation that is uncomfortable, for example travelling, meeting different cultures, get to know new people etc. We have to think about our relative value, and we have to work in a field and in an environment where we can be the best. This means that instead of sitting in a nice office of a blue chip company in Manhattan, we can build our career at smaller companies, in developing regions as well. The difference is, that while we are working for a blue chip we have to compete with thousands of smart people, we have to work hard, but our results, most probably, still won’t be better than the average. However if we are going to a region where the competition is lower as it is less popular we have a bigger chance to achieve an outstanding performance even with less effort. They also highlighted Steve Jobs’ famous saying; Follow your heart! People have to do what they are passionate about instead of elaborating nice strategies; this is the only way how they can be successful.

Paul Toldalgi is the funder and the chairman of BTAPartners LLC. The company manages a hedge fund that concentrates on Central and Eastern Europe and he considers the region to be an undiscovered area by investors, as they don’t understand much of the economic drivers there. The region is relatively safe as it is part of the EU, but still develops faster that the western part of the continent.

Mr. Toldalgi’s presentation was about the operation of the different funds. He talked about the importance of risk management, the diversification of the assets, the structure of the team that manages the fund and the processes that they are using, that was very interesting for me, as I am working in a similar field. He also explained how the technology helps the trading, how it revolutionised the sale or purchase of big volumes on the market without having a huge effect on the price. Instead of doing block trading algorithmic trading softwares are creating smaller tranches and therefore having less effect on the price of the asset. This is just one example but IT, generally, became very important for the financial sector and it can be a real competitive advantage for the firms.

We have also visited General Atlantic, where we had the chance to listen Matt Nimetz. General Atlantic is one of the biggest private equity firm managing 15-20 billion dollar. This was very interesting for me to see, how such a huge player manages its business.

Unfortunately, as an executive MBA student I had the chance to join only to one week of the program, but I can only recommend for all of my peers who didn’t took part of the New York module to go for it in the next year, as this experience will have a huge influence on your career! Don’t miss it!

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