Bethany Student Leaders Experience Wall Street

BETHANY, W.Va. – Twenty-five Bethany College student leaders visited New York City this week, where they experienced the New York Stock Exchange and learned about what it takes to build a career on Wall Street. The trip was made possible through the support of Dr. Robert McCann, a 1980 Bethany graduate and CEO of UBS Group Americas, a global wealth-management company. Dr. McCann, vice chair of the Bethany Board of Trustees, hosted the group during their stay.

“These are the types of value-added experiences from which Bethany students benefit,” said President Dr. Scott D. Miller. “This experience was made possible by the generosity of Bob McCann, who frequently speaks with pride of his own personal Bethany experience and the role this College played in his personal and professional success. We appreciate that he wants future generations to benefit from a similar transformational experience.”

Dr. Miller, Bethany’s Senior Vice President Sven de Jong and M.E. Yancosek Gamble, chair of the Business, Communications and Media Arts Department, accompanied the students on the trip.

The students who made the trip are members of the McCann Family Student Investment Fund, Senior Department Fellows or members of the Kalon Leadership Scholars program. The programs provide direct, hands-on experience in financial management and other career-building skills, including service-learning leadership.

The McCann Student Investment Fund is managed entirely by students, making real investments in real-world financial markets, with real dollars. In recent years, the fund has grown to $1.5 million, following an initial $1 million gift by Dr. McCann and his wife Cindy.

The group arrived in New York on Tuesday and toured the Bloomberg Tower before enjoying a dinner cruise on the Hudson with UBS executives on the Manhattan Elite. 

Wednesday began with a tour of Teneo, a global advisory firm that partners exclusively with the CEOs and senior leaders of many of the world’s largest and most complex companies and organizations. At Teneo, they spoke with Paul Keary, the company’s co-founder and COO; Kevin Kajiwara, Teneo’s managing director; and Edward Rollins, Teneo’s senior advisor, former assistant to President Ronald Reagan, and frequent international political strategist for Fox and CNN.  


Much of the afternoon was devoted to meetings at UBS Group Americas, where the group visited the trading floor and spoke with company executives on client trading, foreign exchange rates and credit. McCann led a panel discussion with UBS executives on the investment process. The panel included UBS’s chief investment specialist, chief equity specialist and a vice president and senior financial advisor.

Managing Director John Decker led an interactive discussion of UBS’s Wealth Management Division, the company’s largest wealth management office in the country.  The meetings at UBS concluded with a panel led by various directors and chairmen from UBS Americas and WMA Private Wealth Management on building a career on Wall Street.

The remainder of the evening was spent at the New York Stock Exchange. The group was greeted by George Ettinger, head of NYSE floor operations for UBS, who gave them a tour of the iconic trading floor, including the closing bell. 

Art Cashin, managing director of UBS, director of floor operations for UBS at the NYSE, and a frequent analyst for CNBC and MSNBC, provided a history of the NYSE and discussed trends in the financial industry throughout the last 50 years. In 1964, at age 23, Cashin became a member of the NYSE and a partner of an investment advisory firm. He is currently one of six executive floor governors, the highest level at the NYSE.

The trip concluded with dinner in the historic NYSE Board Room and a panel discussion with McCann and executives from other companies including Highlander Asset Management, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Teneo. Students also toured the World Trade Center site and visited Times Square.

This trip is one of the numerous ways Robert McCann has given back to his alma mater. Earnings from the McCann Student Investment fund support Bethany’s acclaimed McCann Learning Center in Cramblet Hall. Housing the PASS, Beth Bridge and tutoring programs, the McCann Learning Center is important to student achievement. The Center was recognized by the Washington, DC-based National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities as one of eight innovative programs nationally to assure student success.

This is not the first time that Dr. McCann has developed an innovative program for student-leaders at Bethany, Dr. Miller said. Three years ago, Dr. McCann sponsored a Leadership Day on campus bringing New York City executives to Bethany to interact with all students. Two years ago, 25 McCann Student Investment Fund leaders and Senior Department Fellows were the guests of Dr. McCann at a closed-door presentation by former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

According to UBS, as CEO of UBS Group Americas, Dr. McCann continues to strengthen UBS’s leading WMA franchise, while integrating and finding synergies among the Investment Bank and Asset Management divisions. He strives to bring the full breadth of the firm’s global resources to bear on clients’ portfolios and drive persistent growth across the three groups.

Since taking the helm as CEO of WMA in October 2009, his turnaround strategy has stemmed asset outflows and returned the division to consistent profitability. Its more than 7,000 financial advisors now manage more than $1 trillion in invested assets.

Prior to joining UBS, Dr. McCann had a 26-year career at Merrill Lynch, during which he held a variety of leadership positions throughout the firm, including Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., President of Global Wealth Management, Head of Global Securities Research and Economics, Chief Operating Officer of Global Markets & Investment Banking, and Head of Global Equity Trading & Markets.

Bethany, a small college of national distinction, is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus. Bethany, the oldest degree granting institution in West Virginia, was founded in 1840 and traces its origins to the founding of Buffalo Seminary in 1818 at what was then Bethany, Virginia.  The College enrolled 1,100 students in 2013-14.

The College was recently featured nationally in “The Chronicle of Higher Education” for its commitment to student-centeredness, reflecting the College’s initiatives during the past seven years to serving the changing needs and expectations of today’s college students.

Dr. Miller said the College has expanded student-support services, earning national recognition.  He led a Council of Independent Colleges national conference session early last spring on the career focus of liberal arts colleges.  The theme of the session was “Building Value:  Linking Classroom to Career.”  

Bethany is the only private National Liberal Arts College in West Virginia, and in recent years has received national recognition for quality and cost from U.S. News and World Report, Barron’s, Washington Monthly, Forbes, Princeton Review and Colleges of Distinction. Last year, the College was ranked seventh in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in the percentage of graduates to attend graduate school within one year of graduation.