By Heream Yang
The Accelerator®—Finance Bootcamp provides college students with an intensive introduction to the world of finance, exposing them to everything from financial modeling to valuation and preparing them for successful summer internships and postgraduate careers. Last summer, the bootcamp launched for the first time, bringing in twelve students from top schools across the nation — including Vanderbilt, Harvard, Yale, and Washington & Lee — for three and a half days of finance instruction. This coming summer, the program will expand to five days (May 27-31, 2019), adding classes and incorporating more practical application through case studies and financial modeling.
According to Accelerator Program Director Gregory Harvey, the bootcamp is a great way for students to determine if finance is the right fit. “Students, particularly at Vanderbilt and other liberal arts schools, don’t have access to finance courses their freshman and sophomore years, but it’s on their radar when they start their college experience,” Harvey said. “The finance bootcamp is a great way to take a deep dive into finance and see if your intuitions are right.”
Students gain a comprehensive introduction to finance through classes covering fundamental topics, including the time value of money, financial statements, capital budgeting, excel modeling, and debt and equity financing. Upon completing the program, they receive a certificate from Vanderbilt. Students participating in the 2019 program will also have the option to earn an additional certification in the Bloomberg Market Concepts program.
“(We decided) instead of having students get data from Yahoo Finance or online sources, let’s introduce them to what they would use if they were in a finance career, which is the Bloomberg terminal,” said Joshua White, Assistant Professor of Finance at Vanderbilt Business, who helps teach the bootcamp. “Students will be able to get certified along some different components in Bloomberg, and the material that they have within Bloomberg also teaches them about other areas of finance.”
Bootcamp participants are able to take advantage of the program’s small size and frequent opportunities for interaction with world-class business faculty. “What really made the finance bootcamp unique is that we had three professors who were there to teach twelve students,” said Anthony Swensen, a senior at Vanderbilt University and a 2018 bootcamp participant. “When you have such a low student-teacher ratio, relative to your typical class in undergrad, it really creates an opportunity for you to interact with the teachers more often and for them to get to know you and really take the time to help you grasp the concepts that you’re struggling with.”
In addition to the finance instruction, the bootcamp also helps students gain a deeper understanding of potential finance careers. “During the program, guest speakers provide a variety of overviews about potential career paths in finance and accounting,” Harvey said. “Students learn there are other options available besides working on Wall Street. They found these sessions to be extremely insightful.”