New York trip pays dividends for students in investment fund

students stand next to the bull of Wall Street statue

2022 Dreyfuss Wall Street Fellows pose for a picture next to the Charging Bull sculpture. 

A week-long trip to New York City is fostering unparalleled opportunities for a group of University of the Pacific Eberhardt School of Business students, from meeting with financial industry insiders to networking with alumni.

“The experience was unmatched,” said Dylan Bernardi ’21, ‘22, a graduate student studying business analytics. 

Bernardi was one of 18 students who made the trip at the end of March. They are all members of Pacific’s prestigious Eberhardt Student Investment Fund—part of a class in which students invest real money in stocks with a portfolio valued at more than $4 million. 

“Being able to go to (a financial) forum, attend President Callahan's ‘Meet and Greet’ while in New York, see what analysts’ day-to-day life is like … It was nothing like I imagined it was going to be,” said Bernardi.

“I think the most impactful part was the networking opportunities,” adds Katie Nyugen ’22. “We got to speak with a lot of alumni and learn about their experiences in school.”

“Our network of successful alumni is part of the power of a Pacific education,” said President Christopher Callahan, who joined students on the trip. “We have alumni with decades of experience who are leaders in their field and I’m grateful to them for sharing their expertise with our students.”

“There's no question in my mind, this trip was an opportunity of a lifetime for these students." - Regent Mary Elizabeth Eberhardt

students pose for a picture on Wall Street

Students on the trip are members of the Eberhardt Student Investment Fund.

The annual trip is paid for through the Dreyfuss Wall Street Fellows endowment, established in 2016 by alumnus and Regent Evan Dreyfuss ’86.

“We're giving students access to a world that is hard to see and discover from the West Coast,” said Dreyfuss. “It opens their eyes to potential careers that they most likely never even knew about. I remember when I was their age, I had no idea any of this existed. It gives them something to shoot for and a way to start networking.”

The first stop was to Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, an investment banking firm, where analysts spoke about their jobs and shared valuable information on getting hired. 

“They were able to offer us a lot of insight on the transition from college and then applying all your technical knowledge to the real world,” said Max Bilsborough ’21, ’22, a graduate student studying finance.

students pose with the fearless girl statue

Students pose with the Fearless Girl statue.

During a “Wall Street Experience” tour, a former trader shared an insider’s perspective of the financial district.

“He talked about the history of the area, what it's like working on Wall Street and the expectations,” said Lewis Gale, interim dean of the business school. “At the end of the tour he set up a game for us, a trading simulation of what it was like to be on the floor and trade the stocks.”

The packed day also included a visit with Pace University students who run their school’s investment fund; it compares to Pacific’s fund. Student-run investment funds are a unique experience offered at only two percent of business schools worldwide.

photo from alumni reception

(L-R) Regent Paul Dassenko, 2022 Dreyfuss Wall Street Fellows Nikki Lee, Reid Morrison and Erin Brown and Regent Evan Dreyfuss

The most impactful part of the trip for many students was an alumni reception, hosted by Regent Anne Milne ’78 at the Bank of America tower in Manhattan, where they met with alumni, President Callahan and several regents.

“As soon as we walked in, they were all eager to talk to us,” said Bernardi. “There were also a few younger alumni there who had just gone through the process of obtaining a full-time position. It was interesting to hear from them.”

Dreyfuss, a portfolio manager who has managed high-yield bonds for more than three decades, was also in attendance. 

“I was impressed with their professionalism,” Dreyfuss said. “They were very appreciative. They wanted to learn about what I did, what my career path was, and how I made that transition out of Pacific.”

“This group of students is amazing,” added Bank of Stockton Vice President and Regent Mary Elizabeth Eberhardt, who spent most of the week with the students. “They're bright and articulate.”

The Global Asset Management Education Forum hosted by Quinnipiac University, the largest student-run financial conference in the world, was the featured event for the remainder of the trip.

Since it was held virtually, Gale set up a space where students could gather to simulate an in-person conference. The annual event includes panel discussions, the opportunity to meet students from around the country and connect with industry leaders.

“There were some high-level executives and people in the finance industry there, so it offered a lot of insight into short and long-term expectations for different markets,” said Bilsborough.

Students were also able to attend sessions on financial technology, preparing for interviews and women in finance, capping an invaluable week of experiences.

“There's no question in my mind, this trip was an opportunity of a lifetime for these students," said Eberhardt.