Whitman Student Interviews NYMEX Pit Trader

For Syracuse University accounting student Ashley Lundberg an educational field trip to the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) with the Whitman School of Management was far more than just a trip – it was life changing. “The moment I stepped onto the trading floor I knew I loved being there,” Lundberg says. “I get very excited just thinking about it.”

After the trip in early October, Lundberg contacted traders at the exchange and set up an appointment in January to return to the facility and shadow traders on the floor. Taking advantage of Lundberg’s passion and trip to the exchange, MJ Whitman Associate Professor of Finance and Director of the Ballentine Investment Institute Fernando Diz set up an interview session for her with SU alumnus David Greenberg ’86 VPA.

Greenberg had spoken to Whitman students in early November and plans to return in 2007 to speak to students on his experiences as a pit trader for the last 17 years. He has been a member of NYMEX since 1990 and has held the position of president of Sterling Commodities Corp. since 1996. Greenberg says when speaking about NYMEX that he has thrived in a marketplace where “the good old days” were three months ago and a long-term hold of a futures contract might be 45 seconds.

The interview session was recorded in at the Mercantile Exchange so that students enrolled in Finance 459/659 Introduction to Derivatives could also see the interview. “I hope the interview can help other students better understand what the New York Mercantile Exchange really is,” Lundberg says. “Through the interview I was able to learn a lot about how very different commodity markets are compared to other markets in the industry.”

A list of 15 questions was compiled by Professor Diz for the interview ranging from how the facility operated to what types of experiences Greenberg has had at the exchange. “It was helpful that I had been on the trading floor for the last few days so I was able to ask him some of my own questions, too,” says Lundberg.

Professor Diz says the project was a success and a great experience for all involved. “It's important that we continue to come up with small projects like this one because they allow students to get a different perspective on potential careers,” says Diz. “The students really enjoyed hearing from Mr. Greenberg and are looking forward to his visit in the coming month."