Club prepares business leaders

Established in 1999 within the School of Business and Industry, the Chief Financiers Organization has equipped many Florida A&M University students for careers in finance and investments.
 The organization, founded by Wesley Puryear, has grown and continues to be a strong organization in SBI.
“This year we have about 40 members,” said Sean Mitchell, 22, a senior finance student and mathematics/computer programming minor from Fort Lauderdale.  “I was president for the 2007-2008 school year and appointed the new board, which consists of sophomores and juniors to take over once many of us seniors graduate.”
CFO, currently under the leadership of Willie Smith, began holding on-campus seminars, stock trading simulations, and marketing to investment banks.
“CFO’s purpose is to educate minority students in the combining of finance and investment and secondly placing students in internship [and] full-time job opportunities,” Mitchell said.

CFO is broken into two entities of the same name, which consists of a student organization at FAMU and a non-profit organization.  Mitchell, chairman of the non-profit organization, plans to expand and establish CFO on other campuses, starting out with other Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“Wall Street is such a cold territory to HBCU students but FAMU broke records,” Mitchell said. 

CFO has brought positive exposure to SBI and FAMU by setting record numbers last summer for securing 40 10-week Wall Street internships for FAMU students at investment banking firms such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Barclays, according to

“CFO was integral in placing 40 students on Wall Street last summer,” said James Washington, 22, a fifth-year MBA student from Washington, D.C. and a member of CFO since 2005.  “One of its members even facilitated a visit to the CNBC headquarters and appeared on the ‘SQUAWK BOX’ morning news program. CFO has also helped students to be featured in such media as Black Enterprise and the Tallahassee Democrat,”

Rosemary Bailey, advisor of CFO, said the organization’s members have done an outstanding job of setting a positive example for other SBI students.

“CFO has made a difference by lifting the financial acumen and collective experience of the students in SBI who decide to participate in it,” Bailey said.  “More students are interested in the markets because of CFO and more are prepared for internships in the field. It is one of the premier student organizations in SBI and the best at putting students in financial services related positions.

Mitchell said there are major benefits an individual can gain from being a member of CFO. 

“First, you gain an in-depth knowledge of finance as a whole and an understanding on how to invest money,” Mitchell said.  “Second, you are surrounded by other people that want to learn just as deeply and badly as you do.”