FMA travels from fields to factories

April 27, 2011

If you’ve ever wondered how corn is turned into plastic or ethanol, you’re not alone. 

Students in the Financial Management Association (FMA) gained some insight into the procedures during a recent tour of one of the largest agricultural processors in the world.

They visited the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company Headquarters, in Decatur, Ill., to see how the business turns farmers’ crops into consumer products.

“I had never been given the opportunity to see a company and how it operates, so being able to see ADM’s headquarters was really cool,” said Nick Burritt, the president of FMA.

The students took a driving tour of ADM’s 600 acres of plants, met with financial analysts, learned about capital planning, trading commodities and accounting.

Aside from watching professionals in their working environment, the most rewarding thing about the trip to Burritt was the driving tour.

“The driving tour was interesting because in business, trading is all deskwork,” Burritt said. “But it’s not just looking at a sheet of paper. We got to look at the assets that they had. So, the trip was about actually seeing what the business people are working for.”

Burritt hopes FMA will organize more tours like this one in order to further its mission of connecting schoolwork with the working world.

“FMA is about bringing speakers on campus to talk about what they do. We can find out what a financial planner actually does, or what corporate finance is about,” Burritt said.

He also urges anyone interested in finance to join the club.

“It’s a good group in the business college.” Burritt said. “It gives a lot of real-world perspective, which I know I didn’t have at the start of this year. It’s a growing group and next year we’re going to be doing a lot of exciting stuff.”