The University of Newcastle, Australia

Greater Bank Finance Academy

The University of Newcastle and Greater Bank have established a five-year partnership to build financial literacy in the community.

With our combined strengths in education, banking, community engagement and regional focus, this partnership between Greater Bank and the Newcastle Business School provides community focused and research driven programs and facilities that support informed financial decision making.

This partnership has resulted in a free, online financial literacy education program for high school students where ambassadors from Greater Bank, and students from the Newcastle Business School present on varied topics from savings and budgeting through to investing and cybercrime. This program combines theoretical knowledge with practical examples of what young people need to think about as they plan for their future.

If you are interested in running the Greater Bank Finance Academy at your high school, please contact:

Donna Reedy
Project Officer
FinanceAcademy@newcastle.edu.au
+61 2 4921 6497

Greater Bank Finance Clinic

Coming in 2021, these short courses, open to the community, provide the latest data on how community attitudes to money are changing.

The courses also share information on financial topics that people of all ages need to consider when managing their money, including simple strategies on saving, reducing debt and how to avoid being scammed.

Junior Finance Academy

The Junior Finance Academy is a free financial literacy education program where students from year 3 to year 6 can learn about the concept of money in a fun way with age appropriate activities. The program is 100% online and on demand. This means it’s perfect for parents to lead their children through the program at a time that suits them best. Follow these links to learn more:

Junior Finance Academy stage 2

Junior Finance Academy stage 3

Greater Bank Finance Lab and        Experiential Teaching

Located on level one of the University’s new state-of-the-art CBD vertical campus, the Greater Bank Finance Lab is a hands-on learning environment, enabling University of Newcastle Business School students to build their skills in financial decision making, risk management and economic systems.

The past two decades have seen exponential increases in both the quality and affordability of technology, and the availability of data. These have provided us opportunities to modify and restructure business school teaching and learning. At Newcastle Business School (NBS), we follow a learning by doing approach that allows students to use technology and real-world data and solve problems mimicking real-world scenarios.

FactSet: The real-time data

FactSet is a financial database which we subscribe at NBS. FactSet provides access to financial data and analytics that investors, fund managers as well as researchers use across the world. The Greater Bank Finance Lab workstations are connected to FactSet. Further, students enrolled in Finance and Economics courses also get access to web version of FactSet. This database is extensively used in workshops conducted in the Greater Bank Finance Lab. Assessment items in undergraduate and postgraduate finance courses (for example, Corporate Finance, Investment Analysis, Portfolio Management) are also developed based on the use of this database. This approach provides students opportunity to use real-time financial data to test/apply their classroom learning.

Rotman Interactive Trader: Integrating theory with practice

Newcastle Business School subscribes to Rotman Interactive Trader (RIT). This is currently provisioned in the Greater Bank Finance Lab. This is a market-simulator that provides students with a hands-on approach to learning finance with real world cases to apply finance theory in a stochastic setting. This platform provides similar stock trading order management systems as those used by major financial institutions. Students control their order types, negotiate and book a trade with counterparty students, thus navigate real-life issues faced by investors and fund managers.

Student Managed Investment Fund

Selected students undertaking the finance major of the Bachelor of Commerce have the opportunity of active input into the management of the University of Newcastle’s Student Management Investment Fund. Students participating in this experiential learning activity are exposed to the fundamentals of portfolio management and investments within the course ACFI3019 Funds Management. Having been exposed to these fundamentals, they provide via written and oral submissions recommendations to the Student Management Investment Committee as to the security selection, asset allocation and risk-management decisions of the fund. The Investment Committee is comprised of academic and industry fund managers.

The Business Analytics Co-Design Lab

The Greater Bank Finance will also serve as the Business Analytics Co-Design Lab. The Lab is aimed to bring business managers, data scientists, academics and students together for reproducing a digital experience in business higher education. This will enhance our pedagogies for preparing business graduates to succeed and make them “Tech-Ready” for their digital futures. We are keen to educate the next generation talent and foster analytics skills for accelerating Australian rural and urban communities and transforming businesses and other social organizations. The objectives are to disseminate practical knowledge of various emerging digital technologies that may have various applications in business data collecting, treating, analyzing, and visualizing for the benefit of business decision making. For achieving these, the lab enables a practical learning environment that engages students with the latest business analytics tools and techniques, building industry collaborations and stakeholder engagements into the process of various solutions co-designing. Students’ analytics skills and talent development are the central aim of this initiative.

By engaging in the foregoing activities, students will gain experience and exposure to essential analytics platforms, tools and techniques including Hadoop, Tableau, R, Python, Power BI, Spark and TensorFlow. For instance, for processing natural language or textual data, various natural language processing (NLP) algorithms will be available, including topic modelling, sentiment analysis, text classification, summarization, annotation, translation and question answering. As a result, students will be proficient in the manipulation and analyses of large unstructured text datasets for knowledge discovery, will understand how to design NLP solutions, and will be aware of their commercial application. From social media mining, brand awareness, marketing research and automation, students will be well prepared to meeting industry demand for various NLP and other relevant analytics applications. These include financial evaluations, trend detection and monitoring of business functions as well as for unfolding insights of selection of marketing content that better resonates with consumers.

As NLP capabilities continue to mature, unstructured text progressively expands, and business analytics resources are increasingly accessible, industry demand for professionals experienced in understanding various analytics and NLP solutions continue to grow.  The lab is therefore aligned to meeting industry demand, by producing professionals with proficient analytics skills in this business-essential technical area, leading to produce competitive business graduates with world-class knowledge of data-driven problem solving in this digital era. The entire understanding is to promote the latest industry-oriented teaching and learning in business disciplines for enhancing employability.

Other engagement activities

The Greater Bank Finance Lab is also used to facilitate various engagement activities. For example, workshops are conducted for students majoring in Finance and Economics. These workshops typically focus on how to use the Finance Lab, financial databases, and research tools for learning purposes. The Greater Bank Finance Lab also hosts community clinics for retirees and high school students. These clinics concentrates on basic taxation, investment, and financial planning issues. The lab will also introduce a webinar series on contemporary finance and economics issues.

Get Greater Podcasts

Students of the Newcastle Business School have put together a series of Podcasts targeted towards building the financial savvy of university students.

Take a look at the first 4 videos of these podcasts. You might learn something too.

Get Greater Podcast: BudgetingGet Greater Podcast: Savings
Get Greater Podcast: InvestingGet Greater Podcast: Transport
Find out more About our partnership

Zac, a University of Newcastle student ambassador for the Greater Bank Finance Academy, talks about the academy and the financial literacy programs.

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