Fall 2018 Finance Newsletter

In this issue:


Jessica Zhao

There is much exciting news to share. Here are some highlights:

  • It is my honor to announce George Emanuele ʼ98 as our first Finance Executive in Residence! George is a senior director and portfolio manager for BNY Mellon Wealth Management in the Central Pennsylvania region. George has over twenty years of investment experience in the wealth management field. Please check out the great opportunities offered by our Executive in Residence program, including a speaker series and an office visit to BNY Mellon. These will be announced in Canvas Pride.
  • We started to offer a new course, FIN 302 Introductory Financial Modeling, taught by Dr. Harry Feng, assistant professor of finance. This course uses spreadsheets to build financial models and solve numerically intensive problems in finance.
  • A big thank you to Eric Robbins, lecturer in finance, who provided Recommended Action Plans for the three different tracks (corporate finance, personal financial adviser, and investment or business analyst) in our Finance major!

—Dr. Jessica Zhao, Professor of Finance and Chair of Finance and Economics

Faculty Spotlight

Jennifer Bestvina ’11M.B.A.

Jennifer Bestvina

What is your educational background?

I have a bachelor's degree in Finance and an M.B.A., which were both earned at Behrend.

How would you describe your teaching style or method?

I'm pretty new, so I haven't exactly established a style, per se! However, I try to be approachable and relatable so the students feel comfortable participating and asking questions.

What is your favorite part about being a faculty member?

I love being on campus and interacting with the students. I also enjoy being able to share some of my personal finance experience in my career during class.

What do you like to do in your free time?

What is this "free time" you speak of? Ha! I have two children and I love spending time with them and my family. I love finding any excuse to throw a theme party (birthdays, TV series finales, holidays, major events, etc.). I enjoy being outside, so I love camping, hiking, and biking.

Major achievements at Behrend?

I have an M.B.A. from Behrend and I find it very rewarding to be involved with the students and participate from an alumni perspective.

Alumni Spotlight

Michael McCall

Michael McCall ’18

What is your current position and where?

My current position is an implementation analyst for the corporate headquarters of PNC Financial Services Group in downtown Pittsburgh.

How did you find your current job?;

I found my current job by realizing that I wanted to work for a large bank. I applied to all of the major banking institutions directly. After I interviewed at PNC, I knew right away that it would be a great place to start my career.

What steps did you take while at Behrend to help you prepare for your current job?

The steps I took at Behrend to help me prepare for my current job included taking my academics seriously and trying to learn as much as possible in any given course. This helped me develop a sharp mind which has allowed me to adapt and learn quickly in my job. I also sought internships by going to the Behrend Career Fairs. An internship gives you a taste of working in a professional manner and is a great conversation topic in interviews. Being exposed to all of the group work in my various courses also helped me. In the professional world, you are constantly working and collaborating with other team members.

What do you like best about your job and your employer?

What I like the best about my job is being a part of a team that encourages any and all questions I have about how best to perform my job. My colleagues share a lot of wisdom with me and provide a great working environment. This has earned me a lot of freedom and responsibility in my role because I have demonstrated to management that I will utilize all of the resources available to me to perform my job at a high level.

Do you intend to pursue any further education or training?

Yes, I plan on pursuing my education in the very near future. I have aspirations to attend University of Pittsburgh to earn my M.B.A. degree. PNC offers tuition reimbursement and is flexible with your work schedule so that you can achieve this goal.

How has your minor/certifications helped you?

While I did not pursue a minor, I earned concurrent degrees in Accounting and Finance. Concurrent degrees allowed me to stand out amongst my peers in a competitive industry.

What advice do you have for future graduates?

My advice for future graduates is to start your job search as early as possible, as there was no greater feeling than having a job offer in hand before graduation. Second, find a job and employer that you are proud of being a part of. Being a part of a company and team that you are proud of makes you happy to go to work every day. Third, be excited for your career because it provides so many fulfilling feelings such as independence, financial freedom, and a purpose.

What would you tell your college self if you could go back in time?

I’d be more focused on developing myself as an individual. Grades are important to landing that first job, but if you want to succeed in the professional world you have to be a well-rounded individual with core values, soft skills, and confidence in yourself to succeed in the position. In addition, I would tell myself that all of my hard work is going to pay off and that it’s important to enjoy my time more and stress less.

Student Spotlights

Nicole Kittelberger ’20

Nicole Kittelberger

What is your major and minor?

I’m majoring in Finance and International Business with a minor in Spanish.

What role did you play as part of your internship?

I worked as a financial representative intern with Northwestern Mutual.

How did you find your internship?

I attended the Penn State Behrend career fair.

What attracted you to this particular internship?

The hands-on experience that the interns gain as well as the potential to learn and grow so much throughout the internship. I learned various skills and knowledge not only related to finance and financial planning, but also to my own life.

What were some of your job responsibilities?

I met with clients and had a conversation about where they are financially today and where they want to be in the future. Additionally, I discussed with them steps to building a solid foundation for long-term financial security. I helped build personal planning analyses for each client to outline the best solutions to their financial goals and retirement, all while building a trusting relationship.

What was your biggest takeaway from your internship?

How important tax diversification is when allocating and distributing one’s funds. This is a topic that I think is overlooked in school, but it can really make a huge difference in one’s retirement and other financial funds.

What are your future career goals?

I really loved interning at Northwestern Mutual and will take away the knowledge that I learned and skills I gained forever. However, in the future I would like to go a more analytical and CFA route. Ideally, I want to take Level I of the CFA exam in my senior year. Also, I want to obtain a financial analyst position at a global company.

What advice about internships would you give to rising junior/senior students?

Network with as many people as you can and pick an internship that will give you the best experience that you can speak to on a resume or in a future job interview.

Erik Ovick ’19

Erik Ovick

What is your major and minor?

I’m a senior Finance major with a focus on CFP and CFA.

What is your current (or past) position and where?

I am treasurer of the Business Analytics Team and the Financial Management Association. I also am the lead analyst for the consumer discretionary sector of the Intrieri Family Student Managed Fund and the vice president of portfolio analytics for the fund.

How did you find your internship?

I was determined to get an internship as a private registered investment adviser (RIA), so when finding an internship online was not working, I started contacting people at RIAs in Pittsburgh and landed my dream internship at CIM Investment Management Inc.

What attracted you to this particular internship?

It was a relatively large RIA in Pittsburgh, and I focused on those firms because it is the type of firm I would eventually want to work for. I really wanted to gain skills that investment analysts need when working for their respective employer, and CIM gave me that flexibility and ability.

What were/are some of your job responsibilities?

I created a request for proposal (RFP) draft for all future RFPs, conducted stock research, and presented my ideas to the project manager and investment analysts, made data visuals for macro analysis (jobs reports), and shadowed the work of investment analysts.

What is your biggest takeaway from your internship?

I really learned the responsibilities and the internal operations that run a private RIA. It was crazy to see that everyone had broad responsibilities from executing trades to writing client reports. I also gained confidence in my ability to generate ideas that could be utilized in the current portfolio mix.

What are your future career goals?

I would like to end up as an investment analyst at a private RIA, possibly within Pittsburgh, but I am keeping my options open to other locations. Long-term I would like to become a portfolio manager for an RIA.

What advice about internships would you give to rising junior/senior students?

Never give up on the internship search, as it truly is crucial to your career search and work experience. I had limited success in my search until I reached out to individuals in my respective field, so do not give up and fight for what you want.

Getting Involved

Financial Management Association (FMA)

Financial Planning Association

Are you interested in the financial services industry, or simply just want to learn more about one of the many options a Finance degree provides? The Financial Management Association chapter on campus is the perfect place to learn what a career in financial management looks like. The Financial Management Association is the premier club on campus for students who want to be involved in financial management and analysis. The club holds meetings once a month, bringing in speakers from the field to share their experiences and journeys through finance. The club also organizes various workshops and finance speaker series events with the Financial Planning Association. Club members even have the opportunity once a semester to take trips to various financial firms, seeing for themselves their daily operations. Engaging in these experiences to hear about valuable life and career lessons from industry professionals can help guide your future in the financial industry as well as build a strong career network!

To join, visit the FMA website, scroll down to the full-time student option, and enroll. There is an annual fee of $50 to cover national ($35) and local dues ($15). Your membership grants you access to new research and information from top experts in the financial field, along with networking opportunities in Pittsburgh and much more!

If you have any questions about the FMA, please contact Ben Lowery at [email protected].

Financial Planning Association (FPA)

Are you interested in a career in financial planning or advising? Do you have a desire to make connections with professionals in the industry who may be looking to hire for internships or full-time positions? The Financial Planning Association is the club for you! Every month, we bring in a professional from the industry to talk about his or her experiences and to connect with students. The FPA also takes trips to visit firms at least once a year to give members the opportunity to see what the financial planning field is like. The club also works hand-in-hand with the Financial Management Association to organize workshops, financial literacy talks, and finance speaker series events.

How to Join

To be a part of our local Financial Planning Association chapter on campus, simply visit the RUB Desk to pay your local annual dues of $15. Make sure you save your receipt and give it to our treasurer, Margo McCullough, at your first meeting. After that, you are all set to enjoy the many benefits that come along with being in the FPA, including our networking trips to our FPA chapter in Pittsburgh!

To join the national FPA, go to the FPA website and scroll down to the full-time student option to pay the annual national dues of $39. This grants you access to all of the resources on the website, a welcome package, the Journal of Financial Planning Monthly, Money magazine, a certificate of membership, and much more. If you have any questions about the FPA, contact Vily Kolesnichenko at [email protected].

Investment Research Challenge (IRC)

This year, Behrend will be participating in the 10th annual Investment Research Challenge (IRC) sponsored by the CFA Society. The IRC began as a way for leading industry professionals to train students in researching and reporting on a public company. Originally developed by the New York Society of Security Analysts, it has grown to include CFA Institute societies in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. This year the team will be analyzing Consol Energy (CEIX). The team is composed of Jared Orr, Margo McCullough, Jacob Middleton, Ben Lowery, and Nicole Kittelberger. The team will be competing in a regional competition to report and present their analysis against institutions such as University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Washington & Jefferson College.

Investment Research Challenge

Pictured left to right: Margo McCullough, Jacob Middleton, Ben Lowery, Dr. Greg Filbeck (faculty adviser), Jared Orr, and Nicole Kittelberger.

Intrieri Family Student Managed Fund

The Intrieri Family Student Managed Fund is now managing approximately $777,000, thanks to performance and to generous donations. The Intrieri Family Student Managed Fund gives students opportunities to act as portfolio managers and equity analysts with real money, real payoffs, and real consequences. This opportunity to manage real assets is an invaluable experience that all business students at Behrend should experience. Over the past few semesters, the fund has streamlined and standardized its investment process to make the experience similar to that of an analyst position in the field, and the fund continues to improve its process and growth, attracting 56-60 students each week.

At the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year, the fund realigned itself to track to a new benchmark with a purpose of giving the fund the ability to invest in more than just large-cap core equities. The benchmark is composed of the following:

We’re looking forward to another successful year with the Intrieri Family Student Managed Fund, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for us! Thank you to all of our donors who support the fund and the hands-on education that the members are able to experience!


Accounting vs. Finance Kickball Tournament

Accounting and Finance Kickball Tournament

Penn State Behrend Black School of Business, first (annual) Accounting vs. Finance kickball match ended up with a victory for Accounting! Look for details on a rematch in the near future!

Finance Speakers Series

Ben Lowery and George Emanuele

On October 29, George Emanuele, right, spoke at the Finance Speakers Series. George is a Senior Director at BNY Mellon Wealth Management and Black School of Business Executive in Residence.


  • 50% IVE (S&P 500 Value ETF)​ iShares S&P 500 Value Index
  • 20% IVW (S&P 500 Growth ETF)​ iShares S&P 500 Growth Index
  • 10% IWM (Russell 2000 Small-Cap ETF)​ iShares Russell 2000 Index
  • 10% EFA (MSCI EAFE ETF)​ iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund
  • 10% SPAB (SPDR Portfolio Aggregate Bond Market ETF) SPDR S Tr/BARCLAYS AGGREGATE