Wall St. and Washington

February 17, 2011

One of the many impressive electives we have at SOM is a class taught by Prof. Jeffrey Garten and Prof. Stephen Roach titled, Washington and Wall Street: Markets, Policy, and Politics. Over the course of the semester we have discussed the interaction of the financial industry and the policies that govern it, both in the US and around the world. On each of the past two Fridays, this class went to New York for the day to meet with some of the leading practitioners in this space. We had the great fortune of meeting with legends like Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, and Roger Altman. We were also able to meet with leading practitioners such as the CEOs of S&P, Lazard, NYSE/Euronext, the Chairman of AIG, and the First Vice President of the NY Federal Reserve, among many others.

Prof. Roach, former US Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, Prof. Garten, and SOM Students

What impressed me most about all of these conversations was the candidness in which everyone spoke to us. Not only did we gain an appreciation of what it takes to lead such important and influential organizations, but we got a sense for who these people were, where their beliefs stem from, and what values they uphold when leading their firms. Although we witnessed the entire spectrum of opinions on salient issues such as Dodd-Frank, Basal-3, and how the market could react to the ever-increasing US debt, I walked away from our meetings with the affirmation that markets are powerful forces, and the regulations that govern them must be thoughtfully crafted and enforced. Next step: we spend a week in DC meeting with dozens of the regulators that govern the financial system to hear the Washington perspective of Wall St.

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Jason Kearns