Seventeen students from “The Ursuline School Lab for Financial Markets and Literacy” completed their inaugural course by celebrating at the Closing Bell ceremony in Nasdaq’s Times Square studio on January 31, 2023. The trip served to provide a real-time window into the world of finance, both inspiring and empowering the students as they work towards completing their Bloomberg certification before they graduate from high school.
Ursuline introduced the course last fall in response to the underrepresentation of women in the world of finance and the ever-growing need for young women and girls to learn about a range of finance topics, from personal financial planning to the inner workings of global markets. The goal of the pilot program was to teach financial concepts so students can first understand and then apply knowledge. In doing so, students developed a finance mindset that is instrumental in preparing for college and for life.
The pilot program kicked off in October by showcasing the newly installed Bloomberg terminal to a captive crowd of more than 50 interested students in grades 6-12. The students were then introduced to Ursuline’s own highly skilled onsite financial expert, Jill Patricot, who uses a Bloomberg terminal, a combination of media, team projects, and real-world case studies to help students develop an understanding of complex financial concepts.
Significant student interest was due in part to the ongoing success of Ursuline’s Future Women in Business Club. This student-led club, founded in 2021, introduces students to different areas of business, often with the support and guidance of Ursuline alumnae, parents, and friends.
“In Ursuline's Lab,” Patricot explained, “students built a portfolio and tracked its performance against the Nasdaq Composite Index, taking them from theory to practice.” Students also analyzed companies within different industries and countries, defined market assumptions, and highlighted stocks of interest.
Looking beyond markets, the program also focused on financial literacy. Students worked in teams to structure budgets, learn about different types of debt and credit, and explore related topics including retirement accounts, sustainable investing, and digital wallets.
“Young women must develop a financial mindset in order to make informed choices in their own lives,” explained Ursuline president, Dr. Colleen Melnyk. “Our students are building a deep understanding of finance and what that means for individuals and businesses. We are educating and empowering our girls to plan and build a financial future.”
Having just completed Ursuline’s pilot program, the inaugural group of seventeen juniors and seniors, active Future Women in Business Club members, are now focused on completing their Bloomberg certification. Says Dr. Melnyk, “That’s the kind of experiential learning we provide at The Ursuline School. We tell our students they have already earned a seat at the table.”