Intermediate Finance Class Explores the Wall Street of Chicago

Finance Class in Chicago photo

Pictured, from left to right: James Bittman,
John Lynch, Eric Buetow, Tyler Schroeder,
Andrea Boerneke, Heidi Jammer, Rick Rosenthal.

Five students from Professor Heather Stelzer's Intermediate Finance class, John Lynch, Eric Buetow, Tyler Schroeder, Andrea Boerneke and Heidi Jammer accompanied Stelzer to Chicago on April 25, 2009. The group took the early train from Milwaukee to Chicago, mimicking the daily routine of business professionals.

Their first stop was at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)/ Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) where the students learned about how the CME/CBOT helps investors. The WLC group was taken down to the floors and walked through both the Grain and Financial Rooms and got to sit in on trades occurring in the meal and oil options pits, the soybean pit, and the wheat and oat options pits. 

In the Financial Room, the students witnessed trading action on both the Eurodollar Futures and S&P 500 option pits. A normal trading day includes a floor full of paper scraps, people running to execute orders, and a language filled with hand signals. The walls were surrounded with quote boards full of colored numbers, prices, and news releases.

The students meet with Charles Farra, the Director of International Sales for the CME group—a key resource and an invaluable individual who explained how the CME ties into the World Market.

Following the visit at the CME, the group walked across the street to The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) where the students met James Bittman, the Director of the Options Institute within the CBOE. The WLC students had floor badges personally made for their visit, course material developed solely for them, and were led into the largest options pit on the floor. 


"The trip to Chicago was hugely beneficial for me. The individuals who showed us around the CME and the CBOE were full of insight and advice. This allowed for a great understanding of things that were somewhat difficult to grasp." Eric Buetow

"The trip to Chicago really put my intermediate finance class into perspective. The Director of the Options Institute at the CBOE took us into the middle of the live trading pit. He has worked almost 30 years in the industry and was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic as he explained things to us and answered our questions." Heidi Jammer

"It was an eye opener to visit the CBOE and CBOT. To go down on the floor and in the trading pits was a unique experience." Tyler Schroeder

'“I was able to take a glimpse into one of the busiest trading markets. Besides gaining knowledge from individuals who worked at the institute, we were able to experience the trading floor and pits first-hand." Andrea Boerneke

"Visiting the Chicago Board of Trade was a great real-world application to all of the concepts we've learned throughout the semester. Seeing how the markets culminate first-hand was extremely valuable to me because it shows a side of the market that can't be taught in the classroom." John Lynch

"What an opportunity! I was thrilled to take my class down to Chicago and give them a glimpse of the industry I previously was employed in. I plan to make this a ritual for my future finance classes as it is something all business administration majors should experience — a glimpse in the Financial Markets World, how a trade is made, who is in charge of making it, and the theory behind hedging." Professor Heather Stelzer