Professor Goldberg’s Financial Services Sector in the 21st Century: Final Case Presentations at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York

I had the pleasure of taking Professor Richard Goldberg’s course, Global Financial Services Sector in the 21st Century, during the fall semester of 2013. It was a valuable experience to learn from a 25-year Wall Street veteran who has covered the financial sector for international M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) and worked at various global banks.  Professor Goldberg is actively involved with the Columbia University community in general, and particularly with the IFEP concentration.

The  course  provided  a  framework  within  which students  could  evaluate  and  understand  the  global  financial services industry.  In class, we explored perspectives such as the current and future roles of the major financial services participants, key driver s influencing an industry that has always been characterized by significant change, and strategic challenges and opportunities facing today’s

financial services CEOs. That said, this course is tailored so that students with various backgrounds can follow and appreciate all of the materials read and discussed. The assigned readings were current, applicable to today’s financial markets, and focused on what was important.

 goldberg class

In particular, Professor Goldberg’s course taught how a SIPA student might look at global financial institutions from a different perspective, focusing more on global macroeconomic and political risk over just simple returns. For example, we learned about how regulatory changes in the capital markets could affect the global strategy of a financial institution, and how a supermarket  approach may  be  of  benefit  to  one  institution  but  a  boutique  approach  might  be  better  for  another,  depending  on  a  financial  institution’s strengths. Understanding the dynamics of policy and financial markets is a valuable proficiency that this course teaches.

Clearly, the guest speakers (from banks and asset managers) and the two presentations were the highlights of the course. For example: For the final case study, we divided our class into teams. Each group recommended specific strategies to senior management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch New York headquarters that could potentially strengthen the bank’s position in the financial markets. Senior executives provided feedback to all teams on how our suggestions would or would not be feasible in the current marketplace.

This live presentation to professionals was a unique experience, especially for students who have not worked much prior to attending SIPA. The skills acquired in this course will serve students well in several sectors; however, it’s tailored for careers in finance, banking, management consulting, and policy-making. I encourage students with various backgrounds to take Richard Goldberg’s course, because it teaches rich information, offers great opportunities, and is entertaining.

Posted by Andreas Maerki, MPA ’14, IFEP