Spring Break is not the only exciting thing happening during March. For 13 students, March 27 marks an exciting weekend.
Students will travel with Professor Jody Jones to Dayton, Ohio, to participate in the R.I.S.E. VIII Forum co-sponsored by University of Dayton and United Nations Global Compact.
"R.I.S.E. is the first forum of its kind to bring students, faculty and Wall Street together in an interactive learning environment to discuss a range of pertinent issues facing investment professionals," R.I.S.E. Managing Director and Program Co-Chair David Sauer said.
R.I.S.E. stands for Redefining Investment Strategy Education. 2008 marks the eighth annual Global Student Investment Forum.
"I guess you could compare it to if you were a pre-med student going and spending a day at John Hopkins," senior Jarod Jones said. "All the best of the best are there, whether its people who work for the federal government or people who work for the most well-known financial companies out there."
Jody first told students about R.I.S.E. last year. He wanted to take a group last year because of the exposure from the people.
"It gets them out of our little cocoon here," Jody said. "It gives them interaction with students from other schools and with practitioners that we could never get on this campus."
Jody and six students participated in R.I.S.E. VII Forum last spring with 1,700 other participants representing over 200 colleges and universities from 58 different countries.
"It's by far the best conference, hands down," Jody said. "I've been to a lot of conferences, and this one kills them all."
Participants gather March 27 for keynote presentations. One of the keynote speakers is Christopher Gardner, owner and CEO of Christopher Gardner International Holdings. Jody, Jarod and junior Emily Williams are excited to hear Gardner speak.
Gardner's story of overcoming life's obstacles was published in an autobiography in 2006. "The Pursuit of Happyness" became a "New York Times" and "Washington Post" #1 best seller. Gardner is also the inspiration for the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" released in December 2006.
Another keynote speaker is University of California, Santa Barbara Professor Finn E. Kydland, who was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences. Other keynote speakers include: Thomas R. Keene, CFA and Editor-at-Large and Chief Economist to all of Bloomberg News; David Rosenberg, Chief North American Economist of Merrill Lynch and Roel Campos, former Commissioner of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Students are also excited about the first NASDAQ Remote Closing Bell Ceremony ever on a college campus, live from the R.I.S.E. VIII Forum at the University of Dayton.
On March 28, breakout sessions will allow participants to pick which area of focus they want to hear about. Some of the sessions are designed specifically for faculty members. Different workshops about portfolio management and security analysis will also be offered to participants.
During R.I.S.E., participants will be given numerous opportunities to network. Networking is an important part of the weekend.
March 29 ends with a Career Strategies Forum and Academic Program Development.
Air fare, car rental, hotel rooms and registration fees are covered for the 13 R.I.S.E. participants due to generous sponsors like Oklahoma Christian University's SGA.
This assistance allows international students and athletes the opportunity to attend R.I.S.E.
Senior finance major Marcos Madrid attended R.I.S.E. last year and is also participating this year. Madrid has decided to go again to gain more knowledge about investing in today's world and to enhance his investment education experience.
"I have also decided to go to this event in order to hear different important economic leaders from around the world give us their opinions of what is going on in today's economy, how to react to it and the importance of being a responsible investor," Madrid said.
Junior marketing major Emily Williams has also decided to attend R.I.S.E. to gain experience.
"I believe in a well-rounded education – that not all learning takes place in a classroom but through experiences as well," Williams said. "The R.I.S.E. VIII Forum will provide an out-of-classroom learning experience including many well respected, successful businessmen and women."
Williams and two other students who are marketing majors will be going to R.I.S.E. as well as two students who are math majors. R.I.S.E is a broad, financially minded conference.
Jody said some finance companies hire employees from a range of disciplines, not just finance majors.
No matter the major the student is pursuing, participants of R.I.S.E. VIII Forum are sure to gain a valuable experience.