A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
“Hey Leideners, are you guys kidding? There are no economics or finance programmes in Leiden University, so how can I be someone like a trader?” I’ve already foreseen the reactions of my readers after they have seen the title of this blog post. No worries! Let me offer you an interesting option; or in other words, a brand new access to the world of finance when studying at Leiden University.
As a second-year student at Leiden University College The Hague, I benefited a lot from this inter-disciplinary education. Unlike most other departments offering Bachelor’s programmes, LUC The Hague requires both generalized knowledge about the world, and also specialized expertise in the field that students choose as their major. As far as I am concerned, I am majoring in World Politics. It could be counted as a pity that Economics is not an option for major at Leiden; however, it is possible to minor in Economics at LUC, in which there are many good courses that can foster your interests in the kingdom of economics and finance even better. Here I have a personal story that can show how much I like studying economics here.
Last semester before the Christmas break, I took a course “Foundations of Finance”. It was taught by Dr. David Stolin. Although I have to admit that as a 200-Level course, it is really intense, yet Foundations of Finance not only offers abundant knowledge concerning finance and corporate governance, but also inspires your creativity as a potential trader in the market. One of the assignments of this course was to participate in the first-round selection of candidates in a competition called “Trader’s Trophy the Netherlands”; those of us who got into the university final could get a bonus point for the grade of this assignment. Luckily, I got selected with some luck. Here is a picture of what it was like to play the game.
Then it came to the university final. As already mentioned, Leiden University does not have majors or branches in Economics or Finance; therefore, I was arranged in the “Online University Final”. Actually, I even asked for the permission to be absent for some of my courses due to this competition. It was totally worth it. I got more than ten thousand euros (virtual currency, unfortunately) in the university final and ranked the first place as a result. I was informed by the organizers, “Congratulations! You’re invited to the national final of Trader’s Trophy the Netherlands.”
December 12th was the day of the national final, and I was over-excited to know that the competition was taking place at NYSE Euronext Amsterdam! Locating at Beursplein 5, NYSE Euronext could be regarded as one of the most important trading centers not only in Europe, but also in the world. I never expected that I could have a chance to enter buildings like this, not to mention having trading games in there. NYSE Euronext was in a jolly atmosphere of Christmas celebration, and it was interesting to find that giant Christmas trees stood together with tropical plants in the hall where traders take hold of the financial market.
Those traders were like workaholics! Look, they wanted to catch every small movement in the market even during lunch time!
Uh hum, sorry, I should come back to topic. I was the only female candidate in the national final, and to be honest, I was a little bit proud of myself. Wearing the name card and representing Universiteit Leiden, I thought that whatever the results might be, I have already made some amazing achievements. The national final required candidates to compete and trade with each other, dealing with three stocks in the market: KPN, Heineken, and Unilever. I enjoyed every second of the game with a smile on my face. When the game came to an end, I talked to several organizers of the competition and some managers in NYSE Euronext. When I came back to the Hague, my instructor Dr. David Stolin told me that I ranked 11th in the national final. For a lazy student who never participated in nation-level competitions, this result was already beyond my expectations. And this competition totally motivated me to explore more about finance and the business world.
After the game, I appreciated more of the interdisciplinary education offered by LUC. Who says that there are no ways to study Economics or Finance in Leiden University? I would be more than happy to tell you more about this option. And, as my instructor told me, there should be more potential traders in the competition next year coming from Leiden University. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate and keep an eye on this!
by Xueyan Xing (coming all the way from China; studying at Leiden University College The Hague)