The Keys Academy – Wall Street Basics Holiday Camp

Stepping into The Keys Academy, it is apparent you have entered a premium education facility. The sizeable premise with its sleek interiors offers a glimpse into the standard of the lessons which are to be conducted behind the glass walls.

Over the years, my 5 kids have enrolled in a gamut of holiday camps. Speech and drama, creative art, robotics and sports, just to name a few. All of the centres try to make the lessons fun and engaging, thus I was expecting no less with the Wall Street Basics Holiday Camp which #1 had been sponsored for.

However, The Keys Academy goes one step further, and what sets them apart is this:

“Innovative & Interdisciplinary” Students learn relevant and applied skills, plug into our global network of experts, and have fun along the way. We position ourselves at the intersection of play and rigour where innovation thrives.

Global experts? I did a quick check on the credentials of the lecturers for Wall Street Basics, which is suitable for ages 14 – 17.

Connor Krone is an expert in teaching entrepreneurship and was awarded a Yale University Fellowship in Business / Managerial Economics in 2011. He served as Program Director for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, a $20 million funded global youth development organization, and is also the founder of Student Investment Lab and Fund (SILAF), a financial literacy program for high school students with a twist where students manage an active portfolio of stocks.

Global experts, check.

The last line, where they position themselves at the “intersection of play and rigour where innovation thrives” struck a chord with me.

This is precisely what I have been trying to achieve with my kids over the past decade. My constant lament is that our education system does not encourage creativity and innovation. They have the rigour, but there needs to be a balance with more open-ended experiential learning. Where the schools are lacking, I attempt to provide the opportunity at home for play and inquisitiveness to flourish.

Have I finally found an education academy which is able to carry out this lofty goal? I was getting more and more intrigued.

The Keys Academy

#1 jumped at the chance to know more about this topic as I have touched very briefly about the stock market when their questions arose in our daily conversations. Their queries were more than I could handle, and I was glad that my eldest has the opportunity to learn from the professionals.

I glanced through the program brochure and my interest was definitely piqued. They were going to be taught the basics of how financial markets work, understand how geopolitical events affect the stock market, and have hands-on application by practicing trading with a simulated portfolio of $100,000. The guest lecturer for this camp is Parag Khanna, CNN Global Contributor and Senior Research Fellow in the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

I was blown away. Never had any of my kids attended a holiday program of such calibre. I couldn’t wait to find out what she was going to be taught, as this topic has always been the domain of adults. I was also curious as to how they were going to handle this topic as it is all too easy to drown them in a sea of jargon or inundate them with too much information.

Every evening, I would ask #1 what had transpired and I could feel her excitement and interest fresh from the days’ learning. To be honest, I have never heard her speak like that about anything she has learned in school, nor even in her polytechnic lectures. She was so animated trying to explain to me all the concepts she had gleaned.

What astounded me was not only the amount of knowledge she picked up, but that the lecturers were able to deliver such complex information in easily understandable terms by making everything relevant to the society we are living in.

I have asked her to share a brief reflection of the Wall Street Basics Holiday Camp she attended.

Day 1

We commenced by grasping Economics basics with Gerald Ng (Economics), who walked us through fundamental concepts such as Demand and Supply theory. It was very helpful as it allowed me to understand the next few subjects better.

After lunch, Connor Krone (Entrepreneurship) taught us about stocks and analytics, using Google Finance as an example. I even learnt how to decipher the figures and calculate EPS and P/E independently! Connor is a believer in fundamentals.

Wall Street Basics

Day 2

We were given a simulated portfolio of $100,000 to invest in stocks. We selected a few stocks, analysed their data, and read up on the latest news about their companies. We finalised on 4 stocks and bought some shares.

In the afternoon, we were honoured to have Parag Khanna as our guest lecturer and he spoke about the “geopolitical marketplace”, a term which he coined in his book The Second World, which refers to the superpowers competing for the influence in emerging markets. Countries now all have power and everything is interconnected because of globalisation. It was indeed eye-opening and extremely inspiring.

To round off the day, Gary Tan (Geopolitics)  taught us more about geopolitical trends and how the world has changed in terms of globalisation. With modern technology, huge amounts of money are able to be transferred within a mere second. We went on to study the Asian Currency Crisis and learnt how to identify when stocks are falling and when to enter the market.

Analysing data

Day 3

Today, we learnt about the Bulls and the Bears, and about patterns and trends of prices of stocks. We discussed the Global Financial Crisis and it’s causes and effects.

Gary taught us technical analysis and how to interpret volume and how to use indicators such as moving averages.

Later in the day, we visited the City Planning Centre and learnt how the government puts systemic planning into creating a city with good infrastructure for its people and the economy.

Day 4

We had another session of Economics with Gerald. He explained how governments control the country’s currency by selling bonds to adjust the interest rates in local banks, which was evident in our case study of the Global Financial Crisis.

Later in the day, we reviewed our trading portfolios and the stocks I chose made some money! Connor taught us about options and calls and puts and we practiced selling calls with our stocks.

Pizza treat for our last day!

Day 5

We took a stroll to the National Library to have a go at using the Bloomberg terminal. It was an enriching experience because it holds so much information about the stock market.

There were line graphs with multiple moving averages and equities and options. It felt like I entered the world of traders! How fascinating.

We ended our week with a presentation covering what we had learnt these past 5 days.

I enjoyed the program tremendously and what I found most useful was the way the topics were structured. Before we can even learn about investing, we have to know the basic fundamentals of the world we are living in, and the markets. Our lecturers introduced it step-by-step and delivered the information systematically, so that everything linked and made sense. I am eager to delve more into the world of investing!

After hearing how animated and excited #1 is at her new found knowledge, I wish they offered a parent-teen camp.

To me, the hallmark of true education begins where the student has been taught in context, is allowed to ask questions, and delves into the material at a deeper level, in addition to having their interest ignited and curious to discover more.

They have definitely surpassed my expectations.

CSI: Murder Mystery set-up
331 North Bridge Road
Odeon Towers Level Two
Singapore 188720

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored advertorial. All opinions are my own.

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~