Keeping Up the Good Work: School of Business Student Clubs

National Association of Black Accountants

Student clubs are proceeding safely during the pandemic, with some clubs increasing their membership and participation.

“Our student organizations have dealt with many challenges - redefining what it means to be involved in a time where meetings can only be done virtually. We are proud to see the ways our students have adapted, evolved and grown while continuing to offer ways to network with and share knowledge from alums, industry experts, and corporate partners and to support their peers,” said Damira Pon, academic coordinator and director of student services for digital forensics program.

Director of Student Engagement Jason Cotugno agreed, “School of Business student organizations are not letting this semester go to waste.  They are capitalizing on the technology, making greater efforts to collaborate with one another and strategizing on how they will function in a post-COVID world.”

Club leaders share what some of the clubs have been up to.

Christopher Gayle '22, President, National Association of Black Accountants

Because everything is remote this semester, we have been conducting activities online through Zoom. Since NABA is a business, accounting and finance organization, many of our programs that we had were recruiting events with financial firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bloomberg LP and EY for our members to obtain internship and job offers.

This semester has been very different for student organizations, especially when it comes to gaining attendance at programs and activities. We have been able to keep up our member retention from previous years and still help students get into the field of business.

Our virtual internship program was hosted by our events chair Britney Baffoe-Tuffour. We went over tips that people should bring into virtual interviews because although there are many similarities to an in-person interview, the experience is not the same. Some of the tips discussed included what to wear, making virtual "eye contact" with the interviewer by looking into your webcam as opposed to looking at your screen, and follow up emails after the interview.

To make things more interactive we've been doing activities through our Instagram page, @Nabaualbany, such as "Financial Fridays" where we post financial tips each Friday. You can also find our e-board video and promotion for our programs.

Timothy Coudriet '21, Co-President and Portfolio Manager, University at Albany School of Business Investment Group

Timothy Coudriet

We began planning our online transition in March. We quickly transitioned to an online setting for group pitch meetings, which held 100% attendance. Over the summer, Co-President Brianna Diaz and I began planning the details for our fall semester while also actively managing the portfolio. We kicked off the semester with a record-breaking recruitment process. We used various avenues of outreach to the student body to promote our recruiting event (through the membership of the National Association of Black Accountants, Delta Sigma Pi and the Financial Analyst Honors program). The total turnout came to 60 students, which is more than what our in-person event could host. Our outreach proved extremely successful and we welcomed a record large class of new members, 28.

UASBIG Highlights of the Year

  1. Addition of sophomore intern program: sophomores learn how to financial model and partake in the Adirondack Cup stock challenge, an online event run by a UAlbany alumnus at Adirondack Funds.
  2. We have two teams competing in the CFA Research Challenge. Usually one team competes, this year we drew enough interest for two teams.
  3. Guest speaker, alumnus Joshua Landau of Fifth Third Bank joined our call to talk to us about corporate banking and answer our questions.
  4. The fund is currently outperforming the S&P 1500 and we have grown the portfolio over $40,000 since we took over in March.
  5. We held a networking event with 20 alumni and 20 students. The event was a collaboration between UASBIG and Melissa Samuels of the UAlbany Alumni Association.
  6. Successful integration of alumni feedback to our financial models. We consolidated our models in Excel to better match what professionals are doing on the Street.
  7. Taught complex financial modeling and valuation in a remote setting to 16 people.

Max Kirby '22, President, Cyber Defense Organization

Max Kirby

The Cyber Defense Organization has been staying active this semester and working to the best of our ability given the current situation. We have done our best to continue running our four events per week: Defensive Cyber Security Team Practice, Offensive Cyber Security Team Practice, Security+ Certification study group, and weekly workshops based off a different topic each week. We have also been attending remote cyber security competitions like UB Lockdown, Central New York and Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition!

Given we are a technology-based club we have found many ways to adapt to this new version of campus life. First, we have been live-streaming our weekly technical workshops on Twitch which enables us to reach out to people all over and share our work. Second, we use virtualization technologies like VirtualBox and our servers to provide virtual access to our members on their computers at home in an attempt to continue offering hands on technical experience. Lastly, we’ve moved our community to a Discord server, which an online groupchat/voice call platform like Slack that allows us to stay in contact with our members and grow the community!