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By Jodie Liedke
Student assistant to the Director of Communications
Lakeland senior Erin Helbing, a small town girl from Cuba City, Wis., found out earlier this month that Chicago may not be her ideal place to live, but is a spectacular place to visit and experience banking and marketing first hand.
Helbing, a business management and marketing major, joined her classmates in Lakeland's Money and Banking class as they spent a day studying financial markets and the federal reserve system in Chicago. The trip was organized by the class' instructor, Scott Niederjohn, Assistant Professor of Business Administration.
"It is great for the students to experience these topics in a real-life setting as opposed to a text book," said Niederjohn.
The class toured the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and to see financial markets and supply and demand in action by viewing the opening of trading on the market floor.
"I thought we would have to tip toe around all of these stuffy business guys that would be walking around discussing and contemplating issues and the weather, but it was more like chaos," said Helbing as she observed the buyers in their bright-colored suits make frantic hand motions, which she later learned actually all meant something.
"It was so much fun to watch and try and figure out that it almost seemed like we were watching a circus. To have a job that every day I can go and yell and scream and win and lose at seems like something that would never get old."
As a long-time volleyball player at Lakeland, Helbing is very familiar with competition, which she found out plays a big role in the business of trade while visiting the CBOT. "It's almost a game each and every day of work to come out ahead of the day before," she said. "We were able to see the prices of things that people invest in everyday change before our eyes."
Niederjohn's class also visited the Federal Reserve Bank, which was the focus of a significant class discussion, and they toured the visitor's center and met with staff from the bank. "There is so much money destroyed and new made and so many little factoids that it was just a lot of information to absorb, but it was so interesting at the same time," said Helbing.
After the bank, the class ended the trip with some site seeing. They toured the Sears Tower for fun and explored Chicago's "Magnificent Mile" (Michigan Ave) to see the U.S. economy in action. A couple of blocks away from Chicago's shopping district, Helbing and three other students, Heather Heberlein, Kayla Ehlen, and Pam Valukas, headed to the middle of downtown to have lunch at the Hard Rock Caf.
"The Windy City was in full force there, like something out of a movie," said Helbing. "I could barely see the sky."