Saturday, March 03, 2007

Indiana University Kelley School of Business News Release

Kelley Indianapolis News Room
IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis students learn financial markets firsthand during trip to NYC

2/12/2007 (Kelley Indianapolis)

The New York Stock Exchange and other securities markets have driven capital investment and economic growth in the U.S. for more than 200 years – yet many Americans still lack a basic understanding of these institutions. A recent survey by the National Council on Economic Education showed that more than half of students couldn’t identify the basic purpose of the stock market.

At the IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis, Professor David Steele is helping reverse this trend, one classroom at a time. For the last six years, Steele has organized a unique field trip for freshman undergraduate students in his Honors X105 course: These students travel to the heart of the U.S. financial capital, New York City, and learn firsthand the history and operations of the securities and public equity markets.

“I saw a lack of understanding of the capital-raising process, which is really a fundamental concept,” said Steele. “I starting thinking, ‘What’s the best way to bring this to life?’ A trip to New York seemed like a great way to get students excited about our financial history and how the system works today.”

In Steele’s Fall 2006 course, 24 students traveled to New York, each spending just over $500 on airfare, lodging and meals. The trip’s itinerary mixed a study of the current markets with a look into the past.

“We visited Alexander Hamilton’s grave and Federal Hall, the first U.S. seat of government; we toured the Museum of Financial History, and stood on the spot where the agreement to form the New York Stock Exchange was signed in 1782,” said Krista Bontreger, one of the students on the trip. “Learning the history helped us understand why things are done the way they are today, and how our government and our financial markets developed together.”

In delving into the modern New York Stock Exchange, students learned the ins and outs of the largest capital-raising market in the world.

“We learned that exchanges like the NASDAQ are 100% electronic, while the New York Stock Exchange trades electronically and manually – that’s the trading floor that’s usually seen on TV,” said Stephen Reusser, another of Steele’s students. “We talked to several traders and learned about the process, how they spend their days – it’s very hectic.”

Students also toured the offices of Merrill Lynch, exploring areas of the global brokerage that are typically closed to the public. The class also heard from Merrill Lynch associates who had been evacuated from the firm’s headquarters on 9/11, when three employees lost their lives during the terrorist attacks.

Steele’s class also broadened their horizons with a taste of New York culture, visiting historic neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, Little Italy, Chinatown and SoHo.

“We were enlightened by the cultural diversity, and found that the New Yorkers we met were actually very nice and outgoing,” said student Morgan McTargett. “We had a great time, and learned a lot.”

Steele deemed the trip a success.

“The student came back from New York with a much greater understanding of our capital-raising process and financial markets than they did when they left, and memories that will last a lifetime,” he said. “Just as important, it helped them learn concepts that will appear again and again throughout the rest of their business education at Kelley.”

The IU Kelley School of Business has been a leader in American business education for more than 80 years. With an enrollment of 3,716 undergraduate and over 1000 graduate students, it is among the premier business schools in the country, with both the undergraduate and graduate programs ranked among the best in the United States. Kelley’s Indianapolis campus, based at IUPUI, is home to the school’s Evening MBA and Master of Professional Accountancy programs and a full-time undergraduate program.

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