Business organization starts anew

With the efforts of a few students and faculty members, an old College of Business student organization has been resurrected with new plans to give finance majors business-related practical experience and put them in touch with future employers.

The Financial Management Association has been a campus organization since the 1990s, according to Cheryl Maranto, associate dean of the College of Business Administration. Although the group experienced a period of inactivity when its prior faculty advisor left, it resurfaced a year and a half ago under the guidance of current organization president William Heard.

"My vision was simple when I found the FMA — to find resources that would help students help themselves " said Heard, a junior finance major. According to Heard, the association is "enhancing our education. In class, you have theory but no practicality. We try to be a resource."

"It gives those students majoring in finance or an interest in finance an opportunity to interact with business people in the community employed in the finance field," said Joseph Terrain, assistant dean of undergraduate programs in the College of Business Administration.

The Financial Management Association's roots stretch to the 1950s, when Dan Fuss, a bond fund manager in Boston, established an unnamed precursor to the current organization on campus. Since then the organization fluctuated in membership depending on student interest.

In 2002, Heard felt an growing need for such an organization for business students.

"What I did was bring it back in hopes of building something that would last, change the way student organizations are perceived by faculty, and show that there were students active who were serious about where they wanted to go," Heard said.

FMA has about 40 active members on campus and 10 executive advisors, financial professionals and consultants who plan to support the group's activities.

Michael Blonski, an adjunct lecturer and Artisan Partners trader, serves as the FMA faculty advisor.

"This is an absolutely awesome organization," Maranto said. "They have done incredible things. It helps MU students by increasing their awareness of professional opportunities in the field and networking with working professionals."

FMA has met with numerous guest speakers from professional companies such as Kimberly Clark, Baird and Bank One. Last October, FMA traveled to New York City, visited Wall Street, toured the New York Stock Exchange and talked with professionals.

According to Maranto, FMA also helped start a new course in the College of Business Administration.

"The other major contribution of the organization has been to help the college to develop a new program in Applied Investment Management (AIM), the curriculum of which has been approved by the faculty," Maranto said. "We are planning to begin offering the program in spring '05 to second semester juniors."

Heard plans one more trip to New York in the future. He also expects to contact more alumni as resources for FMA members.