Over 55 undergraduate Finance Fellows gathered at the Robert H. Smith School of Business to hear CFP Advisory Board Member Eric Billings talk about his experiences as an entrepreneur and finance professional. Billings is the Chairman and CEO of Arlington Asset Investment Corporation, a publicly-traded investment firm specializing in the residential mortgage-backed securities market.
Billings encouraged the students to be optimistic about their job prospects in the financial sector. He told the group that regulation was not in place to control securitization and the non-depository financial system during the 2007-2009 financial crises. However, he expressed positive signs for an economic recovery, particularly through new, sound regulation such as the Basel International Standards.
Billings co-found FBR/Arlington Asset during another dismal economic period in 1989. A combination of knowledge, logic and emotion enabled him to be a successful entrepreneur despite the many challenges he faced. “Emotionalism can trump logic every day,” said Billings, encouraging the students not to be afraid to act on emotion when building a business. He gave a few pieces of advice to the ambitious undergrads: know what you don’t know; learn how to survive change; and have the ability to understand a company’s capital structure.
After his prepared remarks, Billings and the Finance Fellows engaged in conversations about the US government debt, systemically important institutions, the European sovereign debt crisis and executive pay structures.
About the Undergraduate Finance Fellows Programs
There are six Finance Fellows programs at the Smith School: Emerging CFOs Fellows; Financial Services Fellows; Lemma Senbet Fund; Quantitative Finance Fellows; Accelerated Finance Fellows; and Private Equity and Venture Capital Clinic Fellows. Students enrolled in these programs are interested in various aspects of the financial industry including corporate finance, investment banking, quantitative tools, financial series, and private equity. In addition to their academic coursework, Finance Fellows also participate in various related co-curricular activities.
About the Center for Financial Policy (CFP)
The Center for Financial Policy leverages the Smith School’s world renowned faculty to lead research in a collaborative exchange of ideas and solutions on critical policy issues between business, government, and academia, while working to enhance and broaden the exposure of the next generation of business and government leaders to leading academics and practitioners in financial policy.