Public Policy Students Immerse Themselves in Financial Markets

Monday, Oct 10, 2016
by vrosenth

For the seventh consecutive year, The Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance (JRCPPF) offered an intensive 4-day short course, “Financial Markets for Public Policy Professionals,” to second year master’s of public administration (MPA) and master’s of public policy (MPP) students from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

The purpose of this short course is to provide a framework for understanding the operations of financial institutions, the economic purposes they serve and the markets in which they deal.  The financial crisis of 2008 highlight the need for public policy professionals of all stripes to understand how financial markets operate. Given the wide range of institutions in global financial markets, the seemingly endless number of instruments in which they deal and the specialized functions they perform, the world of finance can seem impenetrable to those who are not in the industry.

Approximately 50 very talented and diverse students participated in the course this year.  The students came to the course with greatly varying degrees of prior knowledge and exposure to financial markets. The course managed to engage them all.  According to one of this year’s participants, “I had very little understanding beforehand, and this course has both improved my baseline of knowledge while also sparking my curiosity in the subject!” Another commented:” Fantastic content and speakers-would gladly take more if I could.”  A student with significant prior knowledge, said: “Even having taken financial economics, and working at the Federal Reserve, I still learned an immense amount. Especially with personal experiences and lessons.”

The course started with an optional workshop on accounting taught by Adam Shrager, Lecturer Princeton University. The basic financial framework was taught over two days by Charles Jones and Michael Johannes, professors of finance and economics at Columbia Business School, covering securities, credit markets, mortgages, and derivatives. Both professors have considerable professional experience in the financial services industry, which lends real-world insights to their research and teaching.

Saturday and Sunday offered a workshop on Money and Banking taught by Wenli Li from the Philadelphia Fed, an overview of Insurance Markets by Motohiro Yogo, Princeton University, and lectures on different aspects of financial markets such as private equity, valuation, municipal bonds, the finances of the State of New Jersey, trading and the international aspects of financial markets, presented by leading market practitioners and Princeton faculty.  The course ended with a panel discussion on financial regulation. The complete program can be viewed here.

The course has been made possible by a generous gift of Noah Gottdiener ’78, CEO of Duff & Phelps, who also gives the course ecture on “Valuation."  The "Financial Markets for Public Policy Professionals" course will be offered again next September.

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