The Walk Down Wall Street class is back in person for its 31st year
Though they were (in many cases) thousands of miles away and (in all cases) behind their computer screens, students still got to speak with finance industry leaders at big-name companies. They still networked with University of Denver and Daniels College of Business alumni. In some ways, the interactions were perhaps more intimate, comfortable and casual.
But there’s no replicating reactions like Nick Norman’s.
“It was a lot of emotions in one,” said Norman (MSAQF 2022), recalling his first steps in New York City this August. “Overwhelming. Amazing. The noises, the senses you feel. Not to make it sound cliche, but it really is the city that never sleeps. It was really cool to experience that.”
Norman’s trip to the Big Apple last month was the first time a FIN 4800 class has traveled since the pandemic shut things down. And though the virtual versions had been an adequate stopgap, students this summer wasted no time getting back to the way things used to be.
For 31 years Clouse, the Sorenson Distinguished Professor of Finance, has been bringing DU students to New York for an experiential, unforgettable week in one of the world’s financial capitals.
A rolodex bursting with professional and personal connections means a full itinerary for students during their stay in the city. Each cohort attends 2-3 Q&A sessions each day with journalists, analysts, portfolio managers, investment bankers, DU alumni and more.
“I think it helps them to know what they’re getting into when they are interviewing [for a job] and what they would be getting into when they go to work, so they know a bit more about the culture of the place,” Clouse said. “And you learn that by actually being there and seeing what it’s like and seeing what people are doing instead of just hearing people talk. You actually see the company; you see what their workspaces are like.”
Lu Wang (MS 2010), an investment analyst at Silver Point Capital, was happy to welcome students to his office this year, just as he has every year since 2010, when he earned his master’s degree from Daniels.
When he was a student, Wang took Walk Down Wall Street twice, building up “an arsenal of knowledge” that opened doors when he hit the post-recession job market. His trips to New York as a student netted him valuable advice, lifelong mentors and an inspiration to give back to future cohorts.
Now, on the other side of the course, he hopes students take home a better sense of how to approach a business opportunity, investment opportunity or job opening.
“This is a great training ground for someone who wants to get their foot in the door in finance,” Wang said in an interview. “By being here, present, versus your peers who are on vacation, you are already a step ahead.”
After years of remote work and COVID safety protocols, Clouse said he noticed some small changes in New York City’s financial scene. Dress codes are, at times, more casual; schedules are more flexible. But the experience is just as beneficial.
“Wall Street is still alive; It’s not dead,” he said. “When we talk about Wall Street, we mean the generic Wall Street. There’s a Wall Street here in Denver and a Wall Street in Chicago and San Francisco and London and Shanghai, all those places. The markets are still there. The way people are working is different.”
The way DU students lapped up the opportunity is the same as it’s always been, Clouse said. They’re professional, ask good questions—and answer them too.
For Norman, it’s one of the best experiences he had at Daniels. He returned to Denver with the memories he made from the sights he saw and the experiences he shared with his classmates. But he also feels like he came home with a professional souvenir of sorts.
“Even though we’re a school in the Rocky Mountains, it did feel like we’re just as capable of making it in the big coastal cities,” he said. “I think it gave a lot of us confidence to know that the knowledge we’re getting at DU will work anywhere in the world.”