News & Notes from the Sixth Annual JRCPPF Short Course - "Financial Markets for Public Policy Professionals"

Tuesday, Sep 22, 2015
by Rachel Estrada Ryan

For the sixth consecutive year, The Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance (JRCPPF) offered an intensive 3-day short course, “Financial Markets for Public Policy Professionals,” to an enthusiastic group of master’s of public administration (MPA) and master’s of public policy (MPP) students from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Since its inception in the fall of 2010, the short course has helped hundreds of WWS graduate students better understand the inner workings of financial markets and core financial instruments.

“The world of finance can seem impenetrable to those who are not in the industry,” notes JRCPPF Assistant Director Violeta Rosenthal. “The purpose of the short course is to give our students a ‘passport’ to this unfamiliar territory, with many of today’s academic and industry leaders as their guides and teachers.”

The first two days of the course included offerings on securities, credit markets, mortgages, and derivatives, taught by Charles Jones and Michael Johannes. Jones and Johannes are both professors of finance and economics at Columbia Business School; the two also have considerable professional experience in the financial services industry, which lends real-world insights to their research and teaching.

To complement what they’d learned from Jones and Johannes, students enjoyed a dynamic and diverse program on Saturday, which featured 9 brief lectures by some of the top minds in investment strategy, financial regulation, and public policy.

Noah Gottdiener ’78, CEO of Duff & Phelps, whose generous gift makes the course possible and who offers a lecture on valuation each year, is continually impressed with student feedback. “Many have even sent me personal cards and letters of thanks, noting how useful the immersive experience has been for them,” he says.

According to one of this year’s participants, “[the course covered topics] I have never understood, which is a major problem as a policymaker working in a range of areas that are affected by financial market expectations and outcomes. This should be a critical part of training for all public policy officials.” Says another, “Even though I won’t be a day trader after this course, I feel as though I can understand the policy debates over financial reform in a more sophisticated way now.”

In addition to Gottdiener’s talk, Saturday’s sessions featured David Rubenstein on private equity and philanthropy; Thomas Byrne ’76 on state finances in New Jersey, R.J. Gallo *96 on municipal bond markets; Charles Yi *03 and Norm Champ ’85 on financial regulation; Marshall Lux ’82 on community banking; James Leitner on trading and investing; and Anne-Laure Delatte on the future of European markets. 

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