Oak Brook Progressive Networking Dinner

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On May 23rd, CFA Society Chicago held a progressive networking dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Oak Brook.

A progressive networking dinner allows participants to meet people in a casual environment over good food and drinks. Dinner is split into three rounds; salad/appetizer, main course, and desert. Each participant is assigned a specific table for each round / course. Then over that course, each person has the opportunity to provide an introduction and background to their table mates. After each course the participants reassemble at different tables and sit with a new group. The setup allowed me to meet 15 people during the event.

Conversation at the various tables went quickly from introductions to a wide variety of topics. I shared my first course with a quant from a prop trading firm, a member of an independent financial advisory firm, and a credit underwriter. Conversation ranged from the potential effects of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, while another table mate explained how and where to attract funds for a hedge fund that he was starting.

My second and third courses allowed me to meet a new set of individuals including an ETF portfolio manager, wealth manager, institutional asset allocation manager, and financial consultant. These conversations also went in a variety of directions; the nature and constraints that must be followed to build and run a completion fund, the rationale behind currency hedging global trading in the current market, and the Bears trade for the second pick in the recent draft. Consensus on the trade was that it was rich.

My straw poll as to the effectiveness of the event was overwhelmingly positive. The participants I spoke with appreciated the setting, which allowed for more in depth conversation, as well as discussions that involved all of their tablemates.

This event was one of several CFA Society Chicago events that are held in the suburbs each year. The central Oak Brook location allowed 25 people to attend from a variety of suburban locations.

CFA Society Chicago Progressive Networking Luncheon

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CFA Society Chicago’s Progressive Networking Luncheon held on February 22nd at Petterino’s was an opportunity with a different flavor than other networking events.  Featuring a three-course meal, each course provided an intimate opportunity to chat and really get to know fellow table guests.  As the course changed throughout the lunch, so did your table guests! The format transformed the networking from one with challenges to begin conversations to one in which fellow diners were a part of the flow of topics. It made it remarkably easy to ask questions, gain insights from others and provide your own food for thought.

The attendees were delightfully varied as well. In addition to attendees from industry mainstays such as Northern Trust and William Blair, others from further afield industries, yet still very much in finance roles, provided interesting insights. Students also had the opportunity to learn from potential future colleagues.

Join us next time to enjoy a great meal while networking with interesting people!

CFA Society Chicago Euchre Tournament

20160303_180851_resizedOn March 3, more than 40 investment professionals joined CFA Society Chicago at Exchequer Restaurant and Pub for its first card tournament.

The evening brought out a diverse group including:

  • Over confident card players (after all, over confidence is a trademark of our profession isn’t it?).
  • Novices wanting to learn a new game while networking with peers.
  • Deal stealers? Yes, that’s part of the game.
  • Deck stackers? Probably were, but none were caught.

DSC_2623Throw in an open bar along with pizza and chicken wings (included in the price of admission) and what do you get? The CFA Chicago’s first Euchre tournament.

What exactly is Euchre? Euchre is a trick-taking card game most commonly played with four people in two partnerships with a deck of 24 standard playing cards. Euchre appears to have been introduced into the United States by the early German settlers in the Midwest. DSC_2621It has been more recently theorized that the game and its name derives from an eighteenth-century Alsatian card game named Juckerspiel. (From Wikipedia).

Euchre retains a strong following in some parts of the Midwest; especially in  Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A survey of several players confirmed where they learned the game – typically from parents or relatives, or in college.

There were 19 teams that took part in a single elimination style tournament. The winners of the tournament were Hans Stege and Ankit Bhutada!DSC_2630

Looking to play? You can find bar sponsored leagues especially in the northern suburbs. Several players mentioned that they would partake in a periodic (semi-annual) Euchre tournament, so stay tuned for future tournaments.

CFA Chicago’s Winter Whiskey Warm Up

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The CFA Chicago Social Advisory Group recently hosted a whiskey tasting to break from the cold and market doldrums. On January 20th, 2016, members of CFA Chicago along with  members from other CFA societies including San Francisco, Boston, and New York, joined current candidates and other investment professionals to enjoy the Winter Whiskey Warm Up at Sidebar Grille.

Always looking to expand their knowledge base, investment professionals dedicated themselves to fully fleshing out the differences between Bourbon, Rye, and Scotch. Attendees were welcomed with a Knob Creek Old Fashioned and were given tickets to redeem for signature cocktails including: Knob Creek Old Fashioned, Cutty Cooler, Rye Sazerac-Absinthe Spritz, and Caskmate’s Coffee.

Between enjoying a few whiskey based drinks,DSC_2332_Whiskey participants were able to learn more about each of the whiskeys. Four tables were arranged to allow a representative to share a couple offerings. Eli Johnson of Beam Suntory outlined the differences between the Japanese whiskey, Hibiki Harmony, and Knob Creek, traditional Kentucky bourbon. Cathy Gassner of Brown-Forman highlighted the dissimilarities between Woodford Reserve’s bourbon and rye offerings. Caroline Duff of Irish DSC_2334_WhiskeyDistillers shared two offerings from Jameson that diverged from the common perception of “Jamo.”  Jameson Caskmates and Black Barrel Reserve offered a smoothness and subtlety that is not always available in Irish whiskeys.  Jillian Farrell of the Edington Group shared two scotches, the Cutty Sark Prohibition and Highlands Park Dark Origins, and offered insight on their finish and where they are distilled. Many guests agreed that the research was DSC_2337_Whiskeynot complete without sampling each offering.

Movement between the whiskey tables, appetizer array, and bar afforded numerous opportunities to interact with others. Topics of conversation ranged from investments and careers, to sports, current events and everything in between. For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, conversations at the end of the event flowed much more freely than those at the start.