7 December 2023 Financial Markets Course: Preparing Students for the World of Finance By Colin Spencer '19

Students build skills with financial tools while gaining a better understanding of what’s happening in the financial markets.

A new Reader’s College course on financial markets provides students with insight and skills to prepare them for working in the finance field. 

Co-taught by Professor of Economics Feisal Khan and Associate Director of Career Development Shayne Feinberg, “Financial Markets” allows students to develop skills in Microsoft Excel and financial modeling within a syllabus with a broad liberal arts context. Between classes, students read news stories on financial markets from The Wall Street Journal, Morning Brew and Bloomberg and write papers on current topics involving the markets. This coursework serves as the basis for class discussions and questions for alumni guest speakers who share their insights about working in the world of finance. The course also helps prepare students for discussions with alumni while attending HWS’ Finance Trek to New York City during winter break.  

“When they go in for job interviews, they’re expected to know what’s been happening in the markets,” says Khan. “To do that, you really have to get into the habit of following the news every day. So, this course gets them into that habit.” 

Khan says that after taking the half-credit course, students are well read and better aware of the technical skills that are required to succeed in the field. 

“The most important part of the course has been the support from the alumni because they all want you to succeed,” says Sonya Wilkerson ’26, an economics major. “They’ve helped me work on my résumé and told me how to be successful in an interview. And both Shayne and Professor Khan are very supportive on building your skills in networking and interviewing.”

Adam Alfar '26, an economics major, enrolled in the course as it provides "a viable gateway into the workforce for my major and I thought it would be beneficial to be in a group of like-minded individuals" focused on finance.  

“This half-credit course gives sophomores a broad overview of various sectors in finance, while gaining professional and technical skills," says Feinberg. "The format includes a half-hour discussion of current market trends and an hour on specific banking and finance industries including alumni presentations, networking and interviewing skills. I believe it is truly beneficial for the students to see faculty and staff presenting together to prepare them for their future in an industry with very early recruiting timelines." 

Anyone interested in exploring finance, please reach out to Shayne Feinberg in the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education.