Inside the Classroom: Information Technology in Finance

"I wanted a class that would give me real-world experience and coding skills, so naturally, I chose the “Information Technology in Finance” course. I have learned many skills this semester that I know will make me more efficient at work and give me a competitive edge." —Aly Helal (M.S. in Accounting '20)

Contributed by Aly Helal (M.S. in Accounting ’20)

When I was choosing an elective for the spring semester, I wanted a class that would give me real-world experience and coding skills, so naturally, I chose the “Information Technology in Finance” course. I have learned many skills this semester that I know will make me more efficient at work and give me a competitive edge. I am almost done coding a robust system that my team will use in a campus-wide hedge fund tournament held at the end of the semester.

The class is structured in a unique way that allows for the maximum amount of learning. We have an assignment for every session, and Professor Stefano Grazioli records video labs that we watch prior to class. These video labs assist us in learning new coding languages and skills such as SQL, VBA, dynamic queries, and ADO.NET. We then meet in class to review the concepts and ask questions. I also appreciate that Professor Grazioli is very accessible to us outside the classroom for additional support.

Each class session is divided into three parts: The Material; You Do the Talking; and What Is New in IT. During You Do the Talking, Professor Grazioli asks two or three students to talk about their learning objective, what could be done better, what their skills are, and how do they want to approach the tournament. This portion enables the class to get to know each other so that we can effectively pick teams for the tournament. At the same time, the professor can receive real-time feedback. For the What Is New in IT portion, one student presents something new related to IT. I like this segment of the class because it keeps me updated with IT and finance industry news.

I also like that we are all working toward one goal, the hedge fund tournament, in which we get to apply all the skills we learned in the past semester and compete in teams across the University. The tournament should have been held in the computer labs, but with McIntire moving classes online in March due to COVID-19, the tournament will be held online instead.

One additional benefit of choosing this course as your elective is that when everything (and everyone) moved remote, we were not impacted because the video labs were already online. It was a fairly seamless transition, and McIntire moved quickly and efficiently to deliver all of the M.S. in Accounting courses and content online. I am looking forward to how things turn out and am definitely ready for the tournament.

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