Westminster College hosts Winter Analyst program

Staff report

new wilmington, pa.

Westminster College’s Department of Economics and Business hosted the second annual Winter Analyst program.

Eight students successfully defended a financial analysis of a publicly traded manufacturing firm in front of a panel of expert judges. The program is an experiential-learning event designed to replicate an internship on Wall Street. Student intern analysts review more than 1,000 pages of publicly available financial documents and use real-world methods to prepare a market-standard financial analysis of a publicly traded firm under the supervision of a professional financial analyst.

“The unique aspect of this kind of program is how it replicates the unstructured nature of financial decision making,” said Daniel Fischmar, professor of economics and business. “It forces students to synthesize a tremendous amount of material, critically evaluate what is relevant, and reach a reasoned conclusion.

Fischmar continued: “Initially, students are a bit overwhelmed by the task, but as they work through the issues, they gain a self-confidence that can only come from mastering real-world, ambiguous problems. The exercise crystalizes the best elements of a liberal-arts education; the ability to think critically, reason logically and articulate a defensible conclusion.”

Youngstown native Ben Nelson, a 2006 graduate and assistant vice president at Moody’s Corp. in New York City, said the students did a great job with the analysis and an even better job presenting it to the panel of professionals.

The event was organized by Fischmar with assistance from Nelson. The panel of judges included Fischmar; Nelson; Anthony Colwell, analyst with Travelers; Kyle English, executive director at Community Connections; Dr. David Goldberg, Westminster associate professor of philosophy; Michael Gorman, a juris doctor candidate at Cornell University; Russell Martin, Westminster College professor of history; Jackie Meade, director of the Westminster Career Center; Tom Nelson, a financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial; and Phil Petraglia, chief financial officer for Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse.

In addition to traditional academic offerings, the Department of Economics and Business organizes an array of programs to help students obtain real-world experience in preparation for entering the job market or graduate study. These include alumni and peer mentoring, alumni networking events, career-oriented panel discussions, mock interviews conducted by trained alumni professionals and experiential-learning opportunities integrated into traditional academic courses.

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