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UIC Business Students Receive Sponsorship to Attend FIA Expo

FIA Expo 2022 logo

FIA, the leading global trade organization for futures, options, and centrally cleared derivatives markets, hosted its annual Futures & Options FIA Expo in November, of which 30 UIC Business students were sponsored to attend. The FIA Expo attracts experts who lead sessions that focus on the latest developments and trends within the industry. Noelle Robinson, Business Scholar, IDS and Finance ‘23, shared her experience at the Expo, which took place at the scenic Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk hotel.

How did you hear of this opportunity? What was the process like to participate?

I heard about this opportunity from Özgür Arslan-Ayaydin, Clinical Professor of Finance, and I was familiar with the FIA Expo through my previous work as an intern at CME Group. I knew this experience would be so valuable for networking and experiencing my first major convention, so I had to join.

A Google sheet was used to sign up for the Expo and that was refreshingly easy. The Expo itself was very interesting. My fellow UIC students gave me some great pointers on how to interact at each booth and from there it was all gravy. Sometimes it can feel like I’m trying to be something I’m not when I’m in these uber-professional spaces, so instead I decided to be myself and not over-do the suits talk. I made conversation by asking questions to different companies, including what they would present during the Expo. I also collected their free merch.

Overall, the more I leaned into doing what I felt was natural rather than trying to emulate what I thought a businessperson would do in that space, the more I enjoyed myself. I got excellent practice at speaking with execs and felt reinforced in my ability to network.

As for what I learned, I got to watch some fascinating presentations on the future of the financial markets, and I especially enjoyed the innovator pitches. Of the speakers I witnessed, I was able to learn a lot about the intricacies and inner workings of the commodities market, as well as visions for the future.

Did you make any connections?

There was one connection that stood out. This individual showed me an application that programs an entire trading user interface on which customers can buy and sell, from a plain-english builder that any tech could use. It was fully customizable, easy to use, and seemed very useful in the age of Robinhood and Coinbase-similar electronic trading platforms. His builder was like Squarespace/Wix, but for creating trading spaces instead of just any website. I enjoyed our conversation and he complimented my ability to keep up with what was happening in the underlying code.

Do you have any advice you can share with fellow and future students?

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, you never know what you could get out of it! In so many ways, UIC is what you make of it, so the best way to make the most is by being open to trying new things and casting a wide net so your network can grow.

Thank you, Noelle, for taking us through your favorite moments of the FIA Expo and congratulations to every UIC Business student who received a sponsorship to attend.