On Thursday, November 5, 2009, twenty-one graduate MBA students departed from the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology for a weekend tour of Chicago and its Federal Reserve Bank. This opportunity proved to be a first for many, as a large international base was represented.
On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the group walked to the Federal Reserve Bank to begin the tour. The bank represents the Seventh Federal Reserve District, which comprises Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and most of Illinois with a main focus on economic, banking, and historical information. Students were screened through security, having to show proper identification, and escorted into a board room where a gentleman displayed a brief video about the bank’s operations and provided some staggering statistics.
For example, before the recent recession, Americans were spending $1.09 for every one dollar they earned. Since the recession, the federal banks are tracking the highest personal savings rate since the 1940s—about 6 percent.
After the discussion, students toured the bank’s museum. This area contained counterfeit bills printed by Kim Jong Il and the Ayatollah, some of the earliest currency used in the country, and various interactive displays. The students found the opportunity very rewarding because of the transparency and description of the U.S. monetary system.
Because of Chicago’s deep history, the students had the opportunity to explore many other parts of the city. Groups climbed to the top of the Sears Tower for the magnificent views; toured the cultural districts of Chinatown, the Greek Village, and the Indian neighborhood; and even indulged in some classic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, a true delight!