High School Students Learn the Art of the Trade at Howe

High school students got their first taste of action on the trading floor when they attended Trading Day at the Hanlon Financial Systems Lab at Stevens in April.

The event, held in partnership with the New Jersey chapter of FBLA, welcomed business-minded high school students from more than 20 schools in New Jersey and New York to select and maintain a portfolio that they monitored in real time, and also allowed them to network with leaders at companies such as Oakley, Morgan Stanley and WorryFree Labs.

“The second we sat in those seats, we felt such an adrenaline rush,” said Kishan Patel, a junior at Jonathan Dayton High School, in Springfield. “This is just what it’s like in the real world, with all the tools we’ll be using when we’re working.” 

That adrenaline rush was palpable from the moment Howe School Professor George Calhoun, who directs the Quantitative Finance program at the school, ceremoniously rang the opening bell to start trading. Students shouted to one another as they took positions, debated trades and reacted to news from the market’s performance.

Tanja Grandov, the Ridgefield Park faculty adviser, said her FBLA students are used to competing, but this is the first time the team had access to such high-tech tools. Access to Bloomberg market data and other tools was arranged in advance, so students could get to learn how the software works before the event.

“It’s a great experience for the students to get a real hands-on taste of the equipment used on Wall Street,” she said. 

In between managing portfolios, students got a chance to meet professionals in a variety of industries, discuss the merits of studying business with faculty and hear from current students about the advantages they enjoy at Stevens — like such as the lively Hoboken campus, proximity to jobs and internships in New York, and technology-flavored classes that prepare them for work in any field. Students also heard from Dr. Gregory Prastacos, dean of the Howe School, and Dr. Ann Murphy, associate dean for undergraduate education at Howe.

Teams were judged on how well their portfolios did against the market, and students at the winning schools earned scholarships that can be applied toward a Howe School education. Students at Morris Hills High School performed best, with Northern Valley Regional High School taking second. Stuyvesant and Moorestown high schools won “most spirited” awards for their enthusiasm.