A Finger on the Pulse of Wall Street

Connecting to the Financial Markets

Richard A. Michelfelder, clinical associate professor, analyzing financial data with students, including Michael Williams at the far left.

Richard A. Michelfelder, clinical associate professor, analyzing financial data with students, including Michael Williams at the far left.

By Jen A. Miller GSC’04

When Michael Williams started his internship at a Big Four accounting firm in Philadelphia, he already knew how to use a Bloomberg terminal featuring real-time stock market data used by professional Wall Street traders. A rising senior in the Rutgers School of Business–Camden, he’d been introduced to it years before in his first semester and had sharpened his skills in the school’s Financial Markets Lab and Center for Investment Management.

That knowledge didn’t just give Williams, a double major in finance and accounting, a head start on other interns. It put him ahead of some employees too. “They’ve already been out in the field, whereas here, I’m a college student,” Williams said. “A lot of people are just learning how to use it, and I can help them.”

It’s just one of many ways the Rutgers–Camden business school prepares students for careers in finance by interweaving academics and real-world experience.

Richard A. Michelfelder, a clinical associate professor, said the Financial Markets Lab, which has 16 Bloomberg Professional Service terminals plus TraderEx software and LED stock tickers, allows students to learn the ways of Wall Street. “Instead of just talking about financial theory and economy theory, what we’ve done is develop a room where students can simulate trading and obtain macroeconomic data in real time,” said Michelfelder, who has won numerous awards for his teaching. “It gives the students the opportunity to sit in the type of room, with all the technology around them, that they would have if they were to work in an actual trading environment.”

With architectural plans for a new building for the School of Business–Camden underway, faculty and administrators anticipate an expanded Financial Markets Lab and Center for Investment Management to serve students. The new lab will be a featured part of the 100,000-square-foot building on the corner of Fifth and Market Streets across from Camden City Hall and one block from Rutgers–Camden’s Nursing and Science Building. “Our new home will give us a world-class facility where we can build on our rich history of outstanding faculty research and hands-on classroom education that prepares our graduates for jobs on Wall Street and beyond,” said Jaishankar Ganesh, dean of the School of Business–Camden.

In addition to campus opportunities, the School of Business sponsors a Road to Wall Street Club that takes students on field trips to introduce them to different parts of the financial world. Williams went on the club’s recent field trip to New York that included stops at Bloomberg’s headquarters and the New York Stock Exchange. “We got to talk to one of the market makers down on the actual trading floor,” Williams said. “It was a great experience because a lot of times you see it on TV, but you don’t get to have that connection of being there.”

The school’s commitment to preparing students doesn’t just lean on technology and field trips, though, said James P. McCarthy SBC’86, who before retiring was the managing director and co-head of Liquidity Solutions with Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “It’s a campus that provides an environment that fosters innovative learning,” said McCarthy, who serves as a guest professor and a member of Dean Ganesh’s leadership council.

McCarthy has spoken at Road to Wall Street Club meetings, which he sees as an excellent opportunity for students. He also sees the school’s leading-edge knowledge coming from experienced faculty. “A lot are professionals actively working in their field, so it’s not just someone who’s teaching you from an academic standpoint,” McCarthy said. “They’re bringing their experience into the classroom.”

Bill Booz SBC’13 came to the School of Business–Camden after successfully running his own business. “The college degree was a major missing component in my life,” he said. “It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

He chose Rutgers–Camden because many of its students had returned to college after working professionally, as he had. His degree launched a new career in finance, and he is now a portfolio manager at Vanguard. He said his experiences in college helped him to leap into that job and set him on the path to a Certified Financial Planning certification, and that it also put him on equal footing with high net worth investors. “They understand a little more of these concepts, more so than the average investor,” Booz said. “Rutgers has given me the tools to educate high net worth investors about the fundamentals of their investments.”

Jen. A. Miller is a widely published writer and the author of three books who holds an M.A. in English from Rutgers–Camden.

Posted in: 2018 Spring, Features

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