Recently, the Chicago Tribune in Chicago's future hinges on retooling schools for digital age reported, “The country is being forced to examine the ways in which it prepares its students for the working world. Graduating from a four-year college has long been viewed as the surest path to success. Yet many undergraduates are emerging thousands of dollars in debt while still lacking a clear career path.”
This raises the question: Who has the most to lose?
First and foremost, students finds themselves in debt and ill-prepared for the marketplace. But where does that leave employers? Even when times are good, if candidates are weak, recruiting becomes a challenge. And the ripple effect ultimately hits college campuses and enrollment suffers.
The Washington Post cited figures from the Census Bureau that show overall college enrollment down 3% since 2008. For low-income high school graduates, enrollment is down 10%. The cost of “finding oneself” at college requires deep pockets, and the same can be said for isolating the university and industry.
Commitment and collaboration are the keys. Universities and businesses need to collaborate so students have the tools available to equip them for life after college. Whether it is technology, curricula or recruiting, an open avenue is required from campus to commerce. This type of collaboration leads to relevant curricula that empower students and feed industries.
This is the impetus behind the TT CampusConnect™ program. Started in 2006 by Trading Technologies (TT), the program partners with universities to prepare the next generation of capital markets professionals. Through TT Campus Connect, TT donates its software to engineering programs, math and computer science departments, and business schools. In doing so, it helps prepare future engineers, programmers and traders for successful careers by giving them the ability to master TT’s industry-leading software before they enter the workforce.
The program revolves around TT’s technology. The software students use is the same software used by professionals. The hands-on experience students receive reinforces the textbook theories they learn. Market fundamentals like liquidity and volatility are clearly seen in the live prices displayed on the TT trading screen.
Similarly, students feel the impact of the market as they use the many features of TT’s software. Trading Technologies’ next-generation trading platform, TT, makes accessing the market easy through an internet connection. ADL® (Algo Design Lab), TT’s visual programming tool, makes designing, testing and deploying an automated trading algorithm simple and straightforward; the process can be completed without manually writing a single line of code. And by having access to TT’s application programming interfaces (APIs), students have the opportunity to build and test their applications in a real-world environment with tools used by today’s professionals. Because of these on-campuses experiences, students are more prepared to contribute in the workplace on day one than those who’ve lacked this real-world experience.
Through TT CampusConnect, Trading Technologies has provided software for university-hosted trading competitions, collaborated with educators on curriculum development and guest lectured on relevant market topics. Campus visits and curricula assistance give students exposure to the capital markets and potential career opportunities.
This week, Trading Technologies will host the first TT CampusConnect Algo Showcase at its headquarters. Students from local universities will develop and present commodity trading strategies and show how they used TT’s technology to deploy those strategies. The audience will include proprietary trading firms, who will have the opportunity to assess each team’s strategies and network with them. For some of these students, participation may lead to an internship or job. For the firms, it will be an opportunity to observe and perhaps hire soon-to-be graduates before recruiting intensifies, giving the firms a leg up on talent.
Whether a straightforward software donation, a more involved partnership or professional networking opportunities, the TT CampusConnect program provides this to its partner schools at no cost. And the reason is simple: Collaboration helps us as much as it helps the university.
If you’re an educator or a student interested in learning more about how the TT CampusConnect program can provide value to your school, visit www.ttcampusconnect.com and follow @Trading_Tech, @LeoMurphy9 and #TTCConnect on Twitter. Or, you can reach out by filling out the inquiry form on our website and checking “TT CampusConnect Inquiry.”
Leo began his career as a broker in fixed income futures and options for Merrill Lynch at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). He was a senior economist in research and development for CBOT before coming to Trading Technologies to manage the TT CampusConnect program. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Benedictine University (Lisle, Illinois) and Lewis University (Romeoville, Illinois), teaching economics.