Update from the Field: Student Attends Bond Credit Analysis Conference

November 13 Friday 12:00 AM

Lauren Kesselring, a second-year MPA student specializing in Public Financial Management, provides an update on the conference she is attending.

Thanks to the Martin School I have been able to travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to attend the National Federation of Municipal Analysts’ Introduction to Municipal Bond Credit Analysis conference. Today was the first day of the two day conference and I heard lectures from municipal analysts from Moody’s, S&P, Fitch, US Bank, Eaton, and Assured. The topics ranged from General Government Debt Utilities, to Healthcare, Transportation, and High Education.

Hearing from the analysts how they evaluate municipal debt complemented what I learned in public financial management and fiscal/ budget policy as well as what I have learned at my Fellowship with the Lexington’s Finance Department. It was exciting to have the classroom knowledge of what ratios to focus on when managing a public agency be confirmed by the top credit ratings.

I had the opportunity to attend the speakers dinner and sit with Bhala Mehendale from US Bank and Mary Francoeur from Assured Guaranty. Mary was one of the credit analysts for the YUM Center Bond issuance, and she is an expert in transportation bond issues. Bhala focuses on electric utility bonds and he is a huge House of Cards fan.

I am excited for the second day of the conference to hear about Pensions and distressed credits.

The Martin School Goes to Washington

November 11 Wednesday 12:00 AM

Our annual field trip to Washington DC was a success! Thirteen students and two faculty members met with public servants, including a few alumni. Our trip kicked off with practitioner panels, including the NGA, CSG, American Red Cross, CBO, and SSA. We traveled to the Department of Education to discuss their work with innovation in education, and finished the day with a visit to Representative Barr's office and an alumni dinner. Our trip concluded with visits to the State Department, GAO, and with US AID. And of course, no trip to DC would be complete without a guided tour of the Capitol building!

We gleaned so much from our sessions with practitioners in the field. Their passion and commitment were inspiring! Some of our takeaways:

  1. Relationships matter.
  2. Some of the most important personal qualities for success include adaptability, positive attitude, and a sense of humor.
  3. Communication, communication, communication! We should hone our writing and speaking skills.
  4. Dr. Hackbart is right-- budgeting makes the world go round.