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Ajay Kumar

Nicholas Center Board Members Share Industry Insights in Class

by Ajay Kumar Wednesday, December 30, 2015

This past semester, students in the Nicholas Center had the unique opportunity of welcoming two of our board members - Barb Bolens, VP & Treasurer of Joy Global, and Tom Tefft, Senior VP at Medtronic – for our Current Topics seminar.  Current Topics is a great way for CFIB students to learn from the wisdom and experiences of senior leaders in finance.

Joy Global is one of the leading manufacturers of mining devices in the world. To begin with, Ms. Bolens talked about the challenges posed by cyclical nature of mining business, and how Joy Global is continuously innovating and diversifying to remain a leading mining solutions company. She discussed the nitty gritty of her current role as Treasurer, how she manages financial risk, and ensures sufficient liquidity. This topic caught several student’s attention and we had a good conversation about currency risk, hedging, and fund management. Ms. Bolens also shared her thoughts on managing a successful career, and how important it is to leverage past experiences and “enjoy the ride” of new opportunities.   

The theme of the second talk, by Mr. Tom Tefft, centered on how someone can differentiate himself from others by consistently asking the right questions. Mr. Tefft discussed how, in his career, his understanding of the business beyond the numbers has helped him to progress. He encouraged students to find a mentor in their first job and to understand how their unique perspective can add value to the firm. As with most speakers, he also focused on the details of the inner working of Medtronic, and discussed how Medtronic is evolving to improve healthcare for people worldwide.

Being able to interact with both Ms. Bolens and Mr. Tefft in one day was a unique and informative Current Topics session. While most of these sessions typically focus on specific finance issues, we were fortunate to have two sessions where the presenters were able to offer us career advice in addition to discussing finance topics with us.