A group of 12 finance majors traveled to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis last Friday, where they participated in the fourth annual “Day at the Fed.” Assistant professor Ken Moran said the event gave students a chance to learn more about the role of bank examiners and allowed them an opportunity to interview for jobs and internships with the Federal Reserve Bank.
Senior Will Richter said the day included several educational sessions in the morning, an opportunity to network with and learn from employees at lunch, afternoon sessions about open positions with the Fed and a tour of the Fed’s museum.
“I went on the trip last year as well, and I have learned something new about them at each visit,” Richter said. “I would love to work for them in the future because of their great importance to our economy and their awesome work environment … They are a vital part of our economy, and people should really learn more about the work they do.”
According to the Reserve’s website, the “Day at the Fed,” is a day for sophomores, juniors and seniors who have at least a 3.0 GPA or higher in business, finance, accounting or related fields to network with banking professionals and to learn more about the role of the Fed.
Moran said the general public often misunderstands what the Federal Reserve Bank is and commonly confuses it with the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing or the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He said that although the Fed works closely with the Federal Government, it is actually a privately held entity that works for a profit, which it in turn donates to the U.S. government.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what the Federal Reserve is — I think I should probably stress that,” Moran said. “A lot of people hear ‘Federal Reserve’ and think that’s a part of the Federal Government, but it is actually quasi-governmental. It was created by an act of congress in 1913, so it has been around for over 100 years, and it is the central bank of the U.S.”
Moran said the U.S. is divided into 12 districts, and the St. Louis branch is in charge of the eighth district.
“Each district is a stock-owned corporation, owned by banks,” Moran said. “So a lot of what you hear in a lot of media is not quite correct, when you see pictures of printing presses and such, or when they portray it like a branch of the government. The Department of Treasury prints money, the Fed does not.”
Moran said the Day at the Fed had a large focus on career recruitment, and that regardless of one’s political ideas about the Fed, he believes it is a great place to jump-start a career in finance.
“It is an unbelievable place to work,” Moran said. “They talked a lot about what the Fed does, how the Fed responds to crisis. A lot of people don’t realize that after 9/11, the markets were shut down and people were panicking, and the Federal Reserve stimulated the economy by pumping a lot of money into it. It can do that because it controls 10 percent of all bank deposits in the U.S., and it can withhold or inject that money it is sitting on to help the economy grow. So this event was really more about what the Fed does, what it really does. It doesn’t print money, it takes banks’ deposits and injects them into the economy when needed and draws it back out to try to (balance inflation and employment rates).”
Moran said this was a good opportunity to consider. He said jobs with the Fed are a great place to start a career in finance, because not only is the Fed a good employer, but banks are excited to hire former Fed employees. He said he hopes this was a chance for students to expand their options for the future.