Financial meltdown a learning tool for many students

The traders look panicked by the crisis. Congress - torn as to how to fix it. Finance, business and accounting students, however, are transfixed as they watch this historic scene play out before them. And - watch its lessons trickle into the classroom.

"I've been in and out of school with work and stuff for years and then to all of a sudden have everything in an uproar all in one semester, yeah, it's amazing. It's amazingly daunting and it's amazingly exciting," says State University of New York Institute of Technology accounting student Nicole Lawrence.

Professors at SUNYIT agree; bad business decisions, bail-out talks, and the resulting stock market bungee jump are helping business students see the relevance of what they're learning in the classroom.

"They're thinking now, 'How is this going to affect loans that I may have; my parents are getting ready to retire'," says SUNYIT accounting professor Maureen Smith-Gaffney, Ph.D. Smith-Gaffney says what's happening in the financial world right now is very relevant to what's going on in her classroom.

"It's actually very pertinent to what we're doing because in fact, last class, which was Monday, we were listening to a webcast on fair value accounting which is at the basis of what they feel that the crisis is."

Nicole Lawrence is an accounting student - not a political science major. Yet she instantly sums up in a sentence or two the daunting task facing Congress:

"If they don't do the bailout, we're going to have consequences; if they do the bailout, we're going to have consequences. Either way, the public is going to pay for it."

Reprinted with permission from WKTV News, Utica, New York

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