Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Financial and Investor Communications Emphasis (FICE) offered to Newhouse, Whitman School of Management and Arts and Science majors, introduces students to the world of communication in finance. This unique program teaches students skills in financial and communication literacy, an area of expertise that is in great demand in the business world.
Created in 2016, the FICE program is unlike any other in the country and offered exclusively at Syracuse University. Requirements of the program include majoring or minoring in finance, mathematics, economics or other related fields; completing a writing or introductory public relations course through Newhouse; attending a benchmark trip in New York City; completing an internship in the field and creating an ePortfolio containing work done throughout the program. Unlike a minor, this program serves as an extra skillset students can learn on top of their other studies.
Donna Stein, adjunct professor of public relations and financial communications/investor relations at the Newhouse School, created the program based on her own observations in the financial and investor communications field. “I either hired people with a business background, who had financial literacy, but then I had to teach them how to write, or I hired really great writers coming out of public relations or journalism backgrounds, but then I had to teach them the finance part,” she says.
Stein says what makes this program unique is its ability to teach those in business how to effectively tell a story. “People coming out of a business school will understand numbers, so they’ll understand how to read an income statement and how to read a balance sheet. And, they get a sense of how the world works, but the job of a financial communications or an investor relations professional requires you to be able to tell the story behind the numbers. And that’s really what the job is all about. It is understanding what the numbers mean and what they represent,” she says.
Anthony D’Angelo, professor of practice in public relations at Newhouse and FICE program director, says that the benchmark trip to NYC is one of the most memorable experiences of the program. Students visit public relations agencies, investor relations firms, corporate communications departments, The Federal Reserve and venture capital funds where students can network for internships and potential job opportunities. Newhouse alumnus Gary Kaminsky ’86 (NEW), who went on to serve as a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, as well as a co-host of Wall Street week and capital markets editor for CNBC, has been instrumental in establishing the annual benchmark trip.
“The program has six years of experience,” explains D’Angelo. “Our graduates now have moved into positions where sometimes they host our benchmark visits because they’re with these firms… and it’s a great networking opportunity for Syracuse University students to know that recent graduates are out there making a living in this field and liking it.”
Mallory Carlson, ’23 (WHIT/NEW), said that the trip was her favorite part of the program. “It really helped me understand what a career in the field can look like and helped solidify how the concepts discussed in class are practiced in the industry,” she says.
For Whitman students interested in the program, Stein suggests that the communication skills learned will serve them in any career. She adds, “You need to be able to communicate clearly and transparently and succinctly. So, learning good communications and writing skills, in particular, while you’re in college will help you in any type of field that you go into.”
Both courses taken as part of the emphasis are 1.5 credits and are seven weeks long. Later in April, students can begin registering for an introductory course that starts in October of the fall semester. However, students can apply for the program at any time. Learn more about the program here.