Teaching Students How to Live Life Well through the Study of Finance

Man in suit and tie against a stone wallVinay Ved, professor of finance at County College of Morris (CCM), had a successful career as a partner with a prominent institutional equity management firm, but wanted something else. When he started teaching as an adjunct professor at several major universities, Ved found what he wanted to accomplish in what he refers to as his second chapter in life.

“I was dabbling in being a teacher and fell in love with it,” he says. “I love the idea that I can help to shape a generation. As a teacher, I can guide a generation in finding the right way to live.”

The world of finance is a very disciplined one. It’s not just about making and managing money, it’s about setting goals and being disciplined about moving toward them. It also teaches people how to deal with setbacks and losses and still not lose their way, says Ved.

“Developing your financial knowledge and literacy will change your ability to manage life itself,” he says. “Finance is very disciplined and when you make your first bad investment, you learn quick, fast and painfully. It teaches you that while life will force you to make many unexpected right and left turns that doesn’t matter as long as you keep moving toward your goal.”

At CCM, his students and other students in the Department of Business learn that life lesson by taking part in an Investment Challenge Ved oversees each year. In that challenge, which typically draws 300 participants, students are presented with $100,000 in pretend money to invest in the stock market. Those who do best are presented with prize money with the first place winner receiving $250.

In spring 2020, his Investment Principles class was taking part in a similar challenge when COVID-19 arrived in the U.S.  

“We were very emphatic that we needed to distinguish between news and noise, and not to get caught up in the noise” recalls Ved. “The students in that class could not have picked a better time to learn that lesson. As it turned out, the stock market has treated the pandemic more like noise.”

What he hopes students learn from his classes, he says, “are to be long-term, not short-term thinkers, and to look at the big picture. I don’t want them to get stuck in the weeds and minutia of life because that will only veer them off the path they have set for themselves.”

Teaching at CCM, he adds, is exactly where he wants to be. “ I have climbed every mountain I’ve wanted to climb. Now I want to guide the next generation climb their mountains.”