International Finance Programme report-back

Haileybury’s International Finance Programme, believed to be the first-ever investment course run by a school in the UK, kicked off at the beginning of October. Scott Woods, one of the pupils chosen for the course, provides a synopsis of what he’s learnt so far:

Week 1

The inaugural session of the International Finance Programme began with Mr Cohen giving us a brief outlook on the programme and what it would entail – what we’d be learning, the exam we’re going to take and the activities we are going to be taking part in, such as the Merrill Lynch trading game on the 30th October.

The trips we’re being offered sound equally exciting. There is a visit to London in February which gives us the opportunity to visit a trading floor of a major investment bank, and the optional trip to New York also sounds excellent. Mr Church then told us about a typical day in the city – which sounds very daunting indeed. However, he showed us the salaries and these most certainly make up for the long hours!

For the second half of the session, we split into teams and then invested an imaginary £10,000 in a company of our choosing on the stock market. My group invested in the Corus Group, a steel company. I reckon I’m going to make a killing!

Week 2

Our first full session began with Mr Cohen giving us an overview of the types of organisations in the City and what they all do: investment banks, retail banks, fund managers, insurance companies and pension funds. We then took a look at the London Stock Exchange – who works there and the sorts of products they trade, such as shares, bonds and warrants.

Mr Church then gave us an introduction into the basics of fund management and concepts like ‘diversification’. Having put all our eggs in one basket last week, we then got another chance to invest – this time £500,000 in a range of companies. We invested in SAB Miller, Finn and Bonar and one other company. I wonder if we’ll do as well as last week – we made an £2,500 profit last week after a takeover bid for Corus caused the stock to rise 25%!

We have asked a different pupil to write a short piece on the course each week. The next one will follow the Merrill Lynch Trading Game on 30th October (after half term).