Students connect with the stock market

Waleed Khalil Rasromani
5 Min Read

CAIRO: The American University in Cairo (AUC) will establish a finance lab that will be connected directly to the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange (CASE)

The facility, which will include a simulated trading room, is being funded by a donation of $250,000 by Citadel Capital.

It will, in effect, recreate the environment of the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange on the AUC campus, says AUC President David Arnold.

The lab will be installed initially in a temporary location on the current campus in downtown Cairo and later moved to the new campus that is currently under construction in New Cairo.

In the new campus this will be a state-of-the-art facility in the center of the business, economics and communications complex, says Arnold.

CASE Chairman Maged Shawky explains that the kind of hands-on training that the lab will cater for addresses the gap between theory and practice.

Practical life is completely [different from academia], specifically in the stock market, says Shawky. You have to have a sense of the market. You have to feel it. You have to know the practice of it.

Such training serves to differentiate graduates in the labor market.

I think it s very important to complement the academic grounding that students get today at AUC with hands-on experience to make them better prepared when they graduate and go to the marketplace, to progress more rapidly in their careers, to be more prepared and to be able to distinguish themselves in their careers, says Citadel Managing Director Hisham El-Khazindar.

The facility will also broaden students general understanding of the Egyptian economy.

We re creating something that is going to enable all of the AUC students, not just the finance majors, to have a deeper understanding about the dynamics of Egypt s economy and particularly of its financial markets, says Arnold.

CASE will provide the IT infrastructure to connect the lab with the stock exchange, providing students with a real-time trading environment.

This is part of our more general agenda of trying to introduce the culture of stock markets in universities in Egypt … and the potential employment force that we are receiving in five or 10 years, says Shawky.

The exchange s collaboration on this project is part of a wider program to engage educational institutions. For example, CASE organizes an annual stock market competition for students of Cairo University and Ain Shams University.

It s a simulation game for trading which is exactly like the live but of course without money, and with the top-ranking winners we give them certificates for best brokerage, portfolio manager [and] investment decision, says Shawky.

The donation by Citadel is part of the its corporate social responsibility efforts, which include a LE 50 million scholarship fund for Egyptians who want to pursue graduate degrees in Europe and North America.

This contribution to AUC is focused more on undergraduates and on training for undergraduates while they re in university, says El-Khazindar. And you can expect that, as Citadel Capital continues to grow, certainly we will reinvest part of the profits that our firm earns in education as well as in other developmental and philanthropic activities in Egypt.

Arnold is optimistic that the collaboration between AUC and Citadel will encourage similar initiatives.

This represents a significant commitment by Citadel Capital to investing the future human capital needed for Egypt s economy, and we hope that they are setting an example that others are inclined to follow, says Arnold. This is, I think, a wonderful model of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy that is not just charity but really making an investment in the future of Egypt.

Earlier this month, the business school at AUC received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business based in the United States. AUC is one of only three other universities in the region that received this accreditation.

We ve recently introduced a new actuarial science program, adds Arnold. So we have a constellation of offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate level that are oriented towards producing the kind of skilled professionals that Egypt and the region need to grow and develop as part of the global economy.

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