On a Saturday morning in late January, around 100 Cadettes—Girl Scouts in sixth, seventh and eighth grades—piled into Atlanta’s Federal Reserve Bank. Their mission: to learn more about their financial futures and how to steer them.

Helping them in their quest were several Goizueta Business School Master of Analytical Finance students and members of the Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals (ASFIP). ASFIP is a nonprofit founded eight years ago by the CFA Society of Atlanta that provides free financial literacy education in high-needs areas of the community. They frequently partner with nonprofits, schools, and other organizations including Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. Now, they’re partnering with Goizueta Business School.

“ASFIP holds this event each year, but it was the first year that we had the chance to join them,” says Associate Professor of the Practice of Finance Kirsten Travers-UyHam.

“Financial literacy is so important. It fits within the mission of our program to get out into the Atlanta community and share the expertise we have with the next generation of professionals. So, this was a win-win. It was the perfect opportunity for our students to gain important experience themselves. They presented their ideas clearly and concisely in an unfamiliar setting, while coaching and helping others gain confidence as well. These are all good skills to practice as our students prepare for the working world themselves!”

Fun With Funds at the Federal Reserve Bank

Located in Midtown Atlanta, The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is a stately white marble building that is familiar to many locals. One of the 12 regional banks in the Federal Reserve System of the United States, it serves the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The Federal Reserve Bank conducts monetary policy, supervises and regulates banks, and provides financial services to banks and the U.S. government.

Few are aware that that it also contains the Atlanta Monetary Museum, an interactive exhibit free to Georgia residents with a state ID. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the bank’s automated vault and cash-processing areas. Other highlights include historical coins and rare large denomination notes (including 10,000 bills).

“The Federal Reserve Bank is very generous in their community outreach, providing us the space to meet, a meal, and a tour free of charge,” says Chartered Financial Analyst and President of ASFIP Foundation Kathleen Chrisman. “The Girl Scouts got to see the counting room, where employees process giant bales of real cash worth over a million dollars.”

For Sidhant Mattha 24MAF, the highlight of the event was witnessing the Girl Scouts’ enthusiasm.

“The Girl Scouts were so intelligent and curious,” says Mattha. “They knew about finance, economics, and banking even at this young age.”

The Girl Scouts were also delighted with their free souvenir: the bank hands out baggies of shredded bills at the end of the tour—confetti made from the multiple millions of dollars’ worth of physical bills the reserve destroys each day.

Closing The Financial Gender Gap

Despite progress toward gender equality in recent decades, girls are still often left out of the conversation when it comes to matters of personal finance. And when families do discuss finances, daughters typically get a different message than sons: where parents might advise girls to focus on “fiscal restraint,” they frequently teach boys to focus on building wealth. Though it may seem like a subtle difference, this framing has the potential to shape a young person’s expectations for their life in powerful ways.

“Nearly 50 percent of lawyers and doctors are women, yet women are still dramatically unrepresented in fields of finance. Even across the global expanse of the CFA Society, women members make up about 16 percent of our membership,” says Chrisman. “We want to see that change.”

Amen Mahary 24MAF was eager to be part of that change.

I was drawn to the opportunity to connect with young Girl Scouts, sharing my journey from college to pursuing my master’s degree, emphasizing the invaluable role of education. I was also eager to impart knowledge on financial literacy—a subject close to my heart, as I believe many individuals are unaware of its transformative impact.

Amen Mahary

In addition to the Federal Bank tour, the day’s events included a robust financial literacy program. The lesson covered topics such as budgeting, managing risk, and FICO scores. The Goizueta students we’re able to shine during a career panel, which featured women in the investment industry.

“Financial Literacy is what motivated me to pursue the Master of Analytical Finance in the first place,” says Mack Morris 24MAF. “I worked as a Financial Aid Counselor at an Atlanta Public High School last year and loved seeing the impact of my work every day and building connections with students. This event was an opportunity to connect with young people about a cause I’m passionate about and get them excited about making smart financial decisions.”

Partnership with CFA and The Joy of Giving back

Engaging the community is a way to share valuable knowledge, but also to prepare students for the real world and help them build their network.

“Forming connections with fellow volunteers was truly rewarding,” says Mahary. “Each individual brought unique perspectives and a shared passion for educating Girl Scouts on financial literacy.”

“Finance sometimes can be seen as an individual work environment. In the Master of Analytical Finance program, we strive for students to understand the importance of working together and giving back, as one of the core values of Goizueta Business School is community,” says Program Director Christine Battle.

By serving in different volunteer experiences and attending finance organization events, students are able to see how versatile the world of finance is outside of the classroom.

Christine Battle

For Mack Morris, who will be joining Emory Investment Management as an Investment Analyst for Emory’s Endowment next year, this practical application is one of her favorite aspects of the program.

“I love how practical the program has been,” says Morris. “It feels more like I am in training for a real job than it does feel like school. I feel so well prepared.”

Chrisman notes how much it adds to these events to have young adults as role models.

“We really like to have young people in addition to seasoned professionals at events,” says Chrisman. “It makes for a nice demographic balance. The Goizueta students were enthusiastic, and really helped underscore the material. It was a pleasure to have them there.”

“Our close relationship with the CFA Society of Atlanta has been transformative for our 2024 MAF students,” says Travers-UyHam. “They’ve worked on the CFA exam curriculum, actively participated in Atlanta chapter events, attended enriching social networking and educational events, and secured victory in the CFA Ethics Challenge for the second consecutive year!”

Top row left to right:  Mack Morris, Kushal Agarwal, Sidhant Mattha, Pramit Shah
Bottom row left to right: Sophia Du, Nathasya Tadjudin, Amen Mahary, Diana Covarrubias-Perez.

“When I designed the Master of Analytical Finance program, I wanted to shape the industry to reflect our vision and ideals for the next generation of finance.  I know that finance can be a tough profession. Experiences like this help us to build the students’ comfort and confidence in the complexities of the industry.”

Deeply immersive and career-focused, Goizueta’s Master of Analytical Finance is experiential learning at its finest. Learn more here, and prepare for a next generation finance career.