New York Financial Community Learning Experience


Each fall, the students in my section of Introduction to Business "Honors" have the opportunity to participate in a learning experience designed to provide history, background and exposure to the financial community in New York. This trip is always in addition to the normal curriculum during the regular 15 week semester. This past week, we celebrated 14 consecutive years of providing this trip with a key goal of keeping it cost effective; so that students from all economic backgrounds have the opportunity to participate if they desire. As always, I return each year very proud of our Kelley students who represented themselves professionally and set an example for modeling Kelley values at all times during our travel and stay in New York.

I began this experience for one purpose: To provide foundational knowledge of the capital markets and capital raising process early on in the student's academic career. During the years we have been providing this learning experience, we have seen many changes in the New York financial community. The New York Stock Exchange is now a public company owned by Intercontinental Exchange. We have the first woman (Janet Yellen) as chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. New terms such as "quantitative easing' and "high-frequency trading" are now part of our financial vocabulary. We witnessed the indices move to all time record highs with the Dow closing above 18,000 for the first time ever on December 23, 2014 and set a new record of 18,312 on May 19, 2015. And, in the spring of 2015, we witnessed the Dow Jones Industrial Average replacing AT&T with Apple (AT&T, had been a member for almost 100 years, listed in 1916 as American Telephone & Telegraph). Our financial markets have transformed. Technology will continue to demonstrate impact, which is evidenced each year by fewer and fewer "market makers" on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Digital currency such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet are establishing a presence that will only become more pervasive. The world changes, fast to faster; we must have our students prepared and ready to make their impact. My hope is that experiences such as this will contribute to enabling that outcome.

The objective I use to link the trip to our course Principals of Business Learning (PBL) 1,2,3,4 is as follows:

Objective: To provide the student a unique perspective of key New York financial institutions with a focus on the public equities market and the deep history of financial institutions and activities in New York. Upon completion of the trip the student will be able to define, provide examples, describe the key principles, locate and interpret, and present key aspects of financial information and institutional roles with a focus on the New York financial community.

The structured learning during the trip is designed to be intense, and spread over 3-days. After the markets close, students have their evenings free, but must be prepared to provide a short presentation on a pre-assigned historical aspect focused on events or structures as we travel around Manhattan.

The structured learning includes:

  • New York Stock Exchange: We attended opening bell which included an IPO by "Square" and the students were able to see Jack Dorsey, (CEO and founder of Square, and co-founder and CEO of Twitter) up close, and watched him being interviewed on CNBC from the VIP area on the floor of NYSE. Additionally,the students enjoyed a lucky opportunity to meet and talk with Bob Pisani, who covers the financial news from the floor of NYSE each day for CNBC.
  • American Museum of Financial History: The museum is a Smithsonian affiliate, located on Wall Street and we have been going here since it was a small storefront on Broadway by the Bull. This is a wonderful museum which housed artifacts, and hosts special exhibits; this trip the exhibit was "Worth Its Weigh: Gold from the Ground Up". The museum is housed in a historic building that was home to the former Bank of New York.
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York: The experience here has a learning objective of understanding the role of the Federal Reserve System in setting monetary policy, promotion financial stability and service communities to advance economic growth. The visit also includes a stop at the Gold Vault which is 80 feet underground and holds more gold than Ft. Knox. The New York Fed uses the United States official book value of $42.2222 per troy ounce for gold holdings and the vault contains over $300 billion in gold bars.
  • Bloomberg Global Headquarters: Bloomberg headquarters is quite the experience, including no private offices and aquariums on every floor. The students were able to absorb the progressive culture and we had a training session on the Bloomberg Terminal which is a requirement to use in our class on an assignment where the students follow and research a publically held company of their choice during the semester. We were fortunate to have a chance meeting with Tom Keene (editor-at-large for Bloomberg), in the hallway, outside the news and radio studio. Mr. Keene spent a few minutes speaking with us about his perspective of what students need to know in today's business world.

Additional experiences in the financial district of lower Manhattan include: visiting the Bull on Broadway, Trinity Church (who's burial grounds include Alexander Hamilton, our first secretary of Treasury), Federal Hall, Fraunces Tavern, Stone Street, St. Paul's Chapel (where George Washington attended church), City Hall, Brooklyn Bridge, 911 Museum, top of One World Trade Center, and foot prints of the former twin towers (now waterfalls), Garment/Fashion District, Penn Station, Ernst & Young Global Headquarters and Nasdaq Headquarters in Times Square. And, of course there was significant experience with the largest and one of the world's oldest public transit systems, "The Subway".

I encourage each of you to reach out to our students and hear their perspectives and knowledge gained from this field learning experience.