I’m a finance junkie. I love studying markets and tracking economic indicators, all with an eye for finding opportunities or avoiding investing traps. It’s a joy to share this with my students.
This past week, I was able to combine that with my other love — travel. I took three students to a financial conference in New York City. None of the three had been to the Big Apple, so it was a double whammy.
This conference is designed for students but offers me the chance to sit at the feet of economic and market experts. I lapped up every word, and I marveled at the attentiveness of students.
They came from schools across the country, so it was a big surprise to find ourselves seated directly in front of the group from Mississippi State. These young people, who often show up for class in their PJs, were dressed to the nines for a business conference. They showed up at eight in the morning and listened carefully to words of wisdom from the Wall Street gurus. And they asked great questions.
It occurred to me that we often underestimate young people. When asked, they will clean up. When prompted, they will show up at eight in the morning. When pushed, they will think critically and ask important questions. It’s up to the adults in the room to keep raising the bar.
The conference was very educational for me and for my students, but the education continued when we took to the streets of Manhattan. From street vendors to skyscrapers, we experienced a different world. And we dipped into history with our view of the Statue of Liberty and our trek through the World Trade Center Memorial. The entire experience broadened horizons and was just plain fun.
Along the way, our little group bonded. I think this may have happened about the time I got us lost in the subway! Regardless, they were troopers.
Education doesn’t just happen in the classroom, and it doesn’t just happen from professor to student. It happens when experiences bring concepts to life. It happens when strangers express new thoughts, and it happens when groups share ideas.
And it can only happen when educational institutions commit to a broader definition of the classroom by putting their money where their mouths are. Thank you, Mississippi College, for the opportunity for this old dog to learn a few new tricks.
Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is email@example.com, and her website is www.newper.com.