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The Shareholder Online The alumni magazine of Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

Finance Day allows students to hear from industry experts

Finance Day
Finance Day

Warren Whatley, a financial advisor for Birmingham Investment Group, was one of four Harbert College of Business alums who spoke to students on Finance Day.

There are two people in the world who know way too much about other people.

“The preacher, and the money guy,” Warren Whatley said, filling in the blank for students during a recent Finance Day event at Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.

Whatley, a 1984 Harbert College graduate who serves as a financial advisor for the Birmingham Investment Group, wanted to send a message to students who aspire to be the latter. Clients have to be able to trust you.

“You have to have a servant’s heart,” Whatley said. “Happy clients are a good source of referrals.”

Keven Yost, associate professor of finance in the Harbert College of Business, said Finance Day offers an opportunity for students to learn best practices from respected professionals while also receiving advice on landing their first job. In addition to Whatley, this year’s event also featured three other Harbert College finance alums – Tom Genetti `88, senior vice president of commercial real estate for BBVA Compass; Andy Schroeder `97, owner and president of South Central Steel; and Graham Roberts `84, executive director, senior advisor and family wealth director for Morgan Stanley. BBVA Compass Executive Vice President of Global Wealth Steve Sanak also spoke to students.

Roberts told students their degrees can pave the way to a variety of professional opportunities. In his case, that meant adjusting to technological change since the personal computer burst onto the scene as he graduated from Auburn University.

“Spreadsheets on a computer were cutting edge at the time,” he said.

These days, Roberts serves a client base that includes a significant number of professional athletes – NFL players who receive 17 paychecks per year and who, in many cases, want to spend them lavishly.

“It’s not about investing their money, it’s about helping them save,” he said.

That message certainly tied into Whatley’s earlier comments about what a career in finance actually means in this day and age.

“It’s not a stock brokerage business anymore,” he said. “It’s more of a comprehensive financial advisory business.”

  • The Department of Finance also honored Auburn Finance Association and Investment Club officers, as well as departmental scholarship recipients. This year’s scholarship recipients include Sloane Bell (Dean’s Honorary College of Business Scholarship), Jarvis Werkhaven (Alabama Young Bankers Endowed Scholarship), Blake Martin (SunTrust Banks, Inc. Endowed Scholarship in Finance), Richmond Gunter (Kench Lee Lott, Jr. Scholarship in Finance), Alex Sadowski (McGriff, Seibels & Williams’ Curtis Feemster Memorial Scholarship), Jordan Rocker (Helen S. Flanagan Scholarship in International Business), Blair Brown (Daniel E. Page Memorial Scholarship) and Peter Lund (Mark Bertus Memorial Scholarship).

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