Auburn’s Integrated Financial Leadership Program leads the way in student success

Written by: Michael Ares

The Integrated Financial Leadership Program, or IFLP, at Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business is leading the way in producing some of the very best financial students in the world.

The accomplishments of Auburn’s IFLP students include the extraordinary record of the university’s chapter of the Financial Management Association, or FMA, which secured top international honors at the 2022 Kroll One Team Challenge for the second straight year in May in London (the team has taken the national title for the past three years). This prestigious international contest pits teams from hundreds of colleges representing some of the highest-ranked programs in business education in the world who square off to conduct an analysis of a hypothetical company, establish a valuation and then develop a business strategy.

Pictured above (from left) are: Nick Thompson and Maggie Richard (current FMA co-presidents) as well as Jonathan Hu, Kennedy Jarvis, Price Delk, Jimmy Brewster, Jordan Carr and Caroline Clothiaux (former FMA presidents).

Since its inception in 2014, Auburn’s FMA has been recognized as the premiere organization for preparing students for elite finance careers through professional development, industry exposure and alumni engagement. The exclusive student honor society in the Harbert College of Business consistently helps place Harbert graduates into some of the nation’s top investment banking firms, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Truist, Wells Fargo and Regions, among others.

Auburn’s fifth-annual FMA Summitwill take place on Sept. 30, and will include keynotes, breakout sessions, panel discussions, a rooftop reception overlooking the Auburn campus andthe Summit Tailgate. But the Auburn FMA’s leadership in finance is just one of the components of the IFLP program that demonstrate how uniquely valuable this flagship initiative has become.

Real-World Investment Experience Matters, Too

The Auburn Student Investment Fund, or ASIF, within the IFLP works to foster members’ interests in financial markets to help students develop investment analysis skills while instilling in each member the high standards of Wall Street investment ethics. ASIF members utilize Bloomberg terminals, SEC filings, current news and private equity research to analyze and manage their now $530,000 fund’s investments in equities and other investment vehicles.

A Tradition Continues

Another highlight is the recent $3.2 million expansion of the Harbert Investment Center, a world-class, finance student-oriented center equipped with 12 Bloomberg terminals, a training center and collaboration spaces designed to accommodate a wide range of educational and professional development resources and services.

The lab itself began in 2007 thanks to Raymond J. Harbert’s first gift to Auburn’s College of Business, well before his landmark endowment that resulted in the school being named The Raymond J. Harbert College of Business in 2013. That initial investment has since been expanded by donations of time, energy and financial resources from Harbert and numerous other alumni, business partners and even students themselves over the years.

Joe Hanna, Regions Bank Professor and interim dean at Harbert, noted all the people who help make these initiatives possible. “We are grateful for the vision of Raymond Harbert and all the others whose commitment and financial support have been so critical to the success of the Financial Lab and the IFLP, which includes both FMA and the ASIF. These entities have become the pillars of undergraduate and post-graduate finance education at the Harbert College of Business today,” said Hanna.

FMA members visit the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on their annual trip to New York.

Hanna also pointed to the students, faculty, alumni and business partners responsible for the IFLP’s success. “The Integrated Financial Leadership Program at Auburn represents the very best we have to offer our students and business partners who support our mission,” said Hanna. “While success requires many contributions, I’d like to specifically acknowledge Tracy Richard, a faculty member in Harbert’s Department of Finance, for her extraordinary leadership in helping to establish and build the IFLP into what it is today.”

Richard concurred that Harbert finance students are making an impact: “On the world stage, not only are we winning competitions year after year, but we’re also placing our students into career opportunities at some of the top investment banks on Wall Street. I couldn’t be more excited about that.”

Tracy Richard, a faculty member in the Harbert College of Business’ Department of Finance and director of the Integrated Financial Leadership Program, works with a student in the Harbert Investment Center.

Nick Iannone, a junior in Finance at Harbert and leader of this year’s winning FMA team, put the value of the IFLP, the FMA and recently expanded Financial Lab facilities of the Harbert Investment Center this way:

“The ‘secret’ to Harbert’s unprecedented record of success in international competitions and in securing promising positions at premier financial institutions is two-fold:

  1. The willingness of all team members to go above and beyond.

  2. The tremendous, virtually unlimited support we are blessed with here at Auburn.”