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Heller College graduate makes most of college experience

Posted: 05/02/2012
At 25, Robert Fitzgerald, who will graduate on May 4 with an MBA degree in finance and real estate, has achieved more than many twice his age.

A cancer survivor, Fitzgerald is a commercial pilot; he has experience on the Board of Trade;  and he plans to  use the skills he’s learned doing financial analysis at Roosevelt after he graduates next week with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

“I learned at a young age that you never know what tomorrow will bring,” said Fitzgerald, who was diagnosed with leukemia at nine years of age and who was cured of the cancer by 19. “I try to take advantage of every opportunity I can.”

At Roosevelt, Fitzgerald has been involved with the fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, serving as its vice president of alumni relations; the Des Plaines, Ill., resident also works full-time as a financial analyst at FB Financial Bank in Rosemont; in his spare time, he leads a not-for-profit Freemasonic group in Glenview where he does charitable work, overseeing hundreds of volunteers ; and after doing an internship at the Chicago Board of Trade, Fitzgerald was selected in March to be part of Heller College’s first Stock Trading Challenge.

“Robert is interested in many endeavors and is open to suggestions of career potentials. I am confident he will pursue opportunities using the tools that have been given to him in his university courses – and that he will achieve his objectives,” said Roosevelt Accounting Professor Joseph Ament.

Competing against student teams from colleges all over the country, Fitzgerald and his teammates, including MBA students Nachiket Thakkar and Eric Cordell, were given $100,000 in imaginary funds for trading purposes. The team earned $19,700 in two weeks and ended in 18th place among 163 colleges – finishing in the top 20 percent of participants.

“The CME Commodity Trading Challenge attracts students with the sharpest financial and mathematical skills from many of the most prestigious universities across the country. For the Roosevelt team to place 18th among 63 entrants represents a terrific result,” said Henry Silverman, chair of Heller’s Department of Finance, Information Systems, Real Estate and Accounting and assistant professor of finance. “With a high-tech trading room planned for the new Wabash building, we hope to do even better next year.”

After graduation, Fitzgerald hopes to land a job in the financial intelligence sector.

“I chose Roosevelt because I was interested in real estate development, but while I was at Heller College I really fell in love with the financial side of things and I’d like to continue doing financial analysis for government or a corporation after I graduate,” he said.