Kent State Students Take Part in a KeyBank Experiential Learning Experience
Kent State University's Division of Business and Finance provided a real-world learning experience for students by allowing them to be a part of the university’s bond-refunding process.
This opportunity allowed students to observe calls with ratings agencies, visit KeyBank in downtown Cleveland and experience the legal aspects of refunding bonds.
Kent State students traveled to KeyBank offices last year to meet with financial advisors and then take a tour of KeyBank’s trading floor. Students also monitored the bond order period and continued to be involved in following open-sale adjustments after the sale period closed.
Mark Polatajko, senior vice president for finance and administration, says it was a beneficial experience for students pursuing careers in business and finance.
“Our students had the opportunity to experience first-hand a learning perspective theory coming into practice,” Polatajko says. “They’re reading in their textbooks about pricing bonds and how bonds work, and now they get to participate in the actions of the pricing and closing phases of the bond issuance process. In addition, a tour of the trading floor and a visit to the law offices of bond counsel rounds out the experience.”
Jeannie Reifsnyder, senior associate vice president for finance and administration, agrees with Polatajko that this experience gave students the ability to witness a process that so far has only been covered in classes.
“Students in their classes learn about pricing bonds and how institutions use them,” Reifsnyder says. “In a classroom, it’s difficult to convey the details about how the process actually works. This was a great add-on to what they’re already learning in classes.”
Reifsnyder and Polatajko created this experience for the students not only to learn, but also to network with professionals and begin to grow relationships with those who can assist them upon graduation.
“Our students are developing networks in advance of them entering career fields by interacting with financial services professionals,” Polatajko says.
Adam Bogard, a finance major, took advantage of an opportunity to expand his knowledge about finance during his sophomore year.
“I’m always looking for things to add to my résumé and experience beyond the classroom,” Bogard says. “Being in classes mostly pre-major, I haven’t learned a lot about bonds in my classes. This has helped me learn about a real-life process.”
Bogard believes all students should take advantage of opportunities taking place outside of the classroom.
“It’s helpful and eye-opening for those who aren’t sure about their major," Bogard says. "This gives students a look from the other side of the table, giving them insight into the business world.”
Polatajko points out that the experience was beneficial for everyone involved.
“The refinancing translated into average annual savings of $750,000 over a 15 year period, a total of over $11 million,” Polatajko says. “These savings will be specifically earmarked for enhancing service to students and making the cost of a degree more affordable.”
Polatajko adds that there will be more opportunities for students to be involved in experiential learning events. This semester, a select group of business students will be part of the selection process of the university’s investment advisor.
“This opportunity provides the students with real-world experience, lending theory to practice and truly models our number-one strategic priority – students first!” Polatajko says.