“Banking and Beyond” Brings Business into the Classroom

“Banking and Beyond: Reflections on the World of Finance” is a blog written by William & Mary adjunct professor and alumnus Carl Tack, which helps students and early-career professionals link real world events to the theory and practice of finance.

The blog began as a tool for communicating with students taking Tack’s undergraduate Financial Services class, a high-level introductory course targeted to sophomore business school students, and one of the few finance courses at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business which non-business school students can take as an elective.

“Students were asked to analyze current events in the financial services industry and this all started as an example of what I was looking for. I saw value in continuing to do these topical deep dives so I would periodically email students my current events commentary even after the course ended. And these periodic emails eventually morphed into my blog,” he said.

“I retired as a full-time Mason School faculty member last spring and I decided at that time to open my blog to students and others outside of the William & Mary community. My students were already forwarding my posts to their friends and family, but relaunching my blog on Substack made this all much easier.”

To-date, Tack has hundreds of current and former students who are active readers of “Banking and Beyond,” and his subscriber base is growing. “I find it very gratifying when I hear back from my readers, including some very accomplished professionals, saying how much the blog has helped them or how interesting they find a particular topic. Knowing these very successful folks are reading my commentary definitely keeps me on my toes.”

The blog addresses three broad content areas: financial institutions, corporate finance, and financial literacy. Recent posts have addressed topics such as Fed monetary policy, the evolving China Evergrande debt crisis, tax policy, capital market developments, and the financial and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What I try to do with my posts is not so much summarize the facts as it is to provide readers with some historical content or other background which will help them put things into perspective and make financial sense of what’s really going on,” he explained.

“I’m not an expert in everything I write about but I educate myself through extensive research and try to pull together materials I think will be informative and interesting to the reader. Each of my posts includes links to other material for those who want to learn more.”

Tack is a 1978 graduate of William & Mary. He went on to become a corporate lawyer and then an investment banker in Chicago and London, before retiring to Williamsburg. He began teaching as an adjunct professor at the Mason School and at the William & Mary Law School, worked with Professor Julie Agnew to create the now popular Financial Services course for undergraduates, and eventually became a full-time faculty member and co-Chair of the Boehly Center for Excellence in Finance. He will soon be returning to the Mason School as an adjunct professor, teaching both undergraduate and graduate students.

“At the Mason School we talk a lot about ‘bringing business into the classroom’ and my blog is just one of the ways in which we do this. I write about things that are actually happening in the real world, which helps our students become more sophisticated from a professional perspective,” he said. “For every high-paying job opening at a bank or other financial institution, there are hundreds of smart, qualified people applying and only one of them will get the job. My blog helps our students better prepare for this competitive interview process and I like to think it helps them not only get the job, but also to do the job better and more thoughtfully.”

To learn more and subscribe to “Banking and Beyond: Reflections on the World of Finance, visit https://carltack.substack.com/.