By Alex Chung | Assistant Professor, Economics & Finance, School of Business and Management
One of the highlights of the academic year for many management majors is a visit to New York City, where students have the opportunity to experience the world of business and finance from its epicenter. For the past two years, the School of Business & Management (SBM) has been extremely fortunate that members of our Board of Fellows have offered to enhance the connection between the classroom and the corporate world by meeting personally with our students during their stay in NYC. Last November, Professors Alex Chung and Mehdi Mohaghegh provided two dozen SBM students with this unique opportunity to learn not only through guided tours of important landmarks and institutions, but through personal interaction with successful Norwich alumni. And thanks to SBM Board of Fellows members Robert Bleimeister and Andrew Bannon, these students received front-row seats to the corporate world during their visit to American International Group (AIG), one of the world’s 50 largest public companies with more than 64,000 employees in over 90 locations throughout the world.
Bleimeister attended Norwich University prior to his enrollment and eventual graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1979, serves as the vice president of global HR operations and transformation for AIG. Bleimeister and his senior executive assistant Elsie Ramdial hosted our delegation at AIG’s corporate headquarters, where the students enjoyed breathtaking views of the city, lunch, and a lively, informative and engaging discussion with Bleimeister and Bannon.
Bleimeister gave students an overview of the broad number of career opportunities in a wide range of disciplines that are available at a multinational insurance corporation, firmly debunking the notion that the only jobs in insurance are in sales. Bleimeister was joined by Andrew Bannon, a 1996 Norwich University alumnus and current vice chair of the SBM Board of Fellows, who currently serves as a principal at Capgemini, a consulting firm with 145,000 employees in over 40 countries providing consulting, technology, outsourcing and professional services. Bannon also shared his perspective on the wide variety of opportunities available to management students. He intertwined his talk with highlights from his career in the military and as a successful global business consultant.
Throughout the informal roundtable discussion, the pair answered student questions, providing invaluable insights (the kind you don’t learn in school) and shared their thoughts and observations on the essential qualities required to become a successful business person, entrepreneur and leader.
During their stay in New York City, management students also toured the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where they gained an insight into the main functions of the Fed and how monetary policy is implemented in open markets. To round out their Wall Street education, students paid a visit to the Museum of American Finance, where they learned more about current and historical key players and pivotal moments in both the Federal Reserve System and the financial world.
Professors Chung and Mohaghegh did not forget to add a dash of culture to the field trip, including a stop at the famous Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine near Columbia University, the largest Cathedral, and one of the five largest church buildings, in the world. Students stood in awe of the amazing architecture, interior design and the stunning stained glass windows of the 120-year-old Cathedral, which is still under construction to this day. Fun was also on the itinerary: Students enjoyed a dinner cruise highlighted by views of the Manhattan landscape and the Statue of Liberty at night.
Each semester, School of Business & Management professors try to offer at least one field trip to allow their students to experience first-hand the material covered in textbooks and the classroom. Our students feel genuinely honored to have our Board of Fellows play such a pivotal role in expanding their education beyond the walls of Dewey Hall by inviting them to gain a real and meaningful understanding of the world that awaits Norwich students upon graduation.