ELIZANDRO: “Mad Money” would bring spotlight to campus

John Elizandro

Few would describe the typical television show about investing as “entertaining.” The average financial news show, which could be found on any major news network at some point over the course of the day, has a consistent formula. The show’s host interviews a roundtable of stern-faced financial experts, who then methodically digest and dissect the latest market movements and economic activity. Though informative, most business reporting is dry and thoroughly unexciting.

CNBC’s Jim Cramer, though, is different. In the four years since his program “Mad Money” first aired, Cramer has achieved almost mythical status. “Mad Money” is a dramatically different kind of financial show. Cramer’s show is among the most popular financial shows on television, but more importantly, it’s just plain fun to watch.

Each year, Cramer films his show at some of America’s most prominent business schools. And this year, Villanova may be on the list.

Cramer spends most of his program pacing around his set with his sleeves rolled up, yelling, screaming and hollering at the camera while chucking props off set and playing a series of hilarious sound effects. Though Cramer does occasionally interview guests on the show, he spends most of his time interacting via phone with his fervent fan base across the country, doling out stock tips and investment advice off the top of his head for countless companies.

Cramer is the personification of a larger trend in American society – the democratization of investing. As recently as a few decades ago, investing in the stock market was almost solely the domain of the wealthy. Cramer made his name as a manager at a hedge fund – an investment fund available only to the super-rich. Increasingly, retirees, middle-class workers, and even teenagers are able to buy and sell stocks, on a whim.

In “Mad Money,” Jim Cramer offers “the little guy” the kind of advice that used to be available only to elite investors and institutions that could afford to pay big money to investment managers and analysts. More than his individual stock picks, Cramer’s show popularized financial literacy in a fun way. Cramer talks his audience through his stock assessments and helps them to understand how professionals decide what stocks to trade.

Of course, it should be said that not all of Cramer’s financial advice has been good. Cramer is a highly controversial figure, and he would be the first to admit many of his stock picks have been wrong. But a Cramer visit to Villanova is about more than the stock selections he makes.

In the same way that the basketball team’s Final Four run last season introduced viewers across the country to Villanova, a “Mad Money” filming here on campus would bring much-deserved notoriety to the School of Business. Jim Cramer coming to VSB to film his show would bring national recognition to the business school, and this increased exposure makes a Villanova degree in any field even more marketable. Filming “Mad Money” on campus is an opportunity for students from all majors to learn firsthand about investing in a fun and exciting environment.

Villanova is a natural choice for “Mad Money.” Cramer graduated from Springfield Township High School just a few miles away, has mentioned Villanova on his show and hinted that he’s a Villanova basketball fan. VSB is a feeder school for many top investing and financial firms. Filming “Mad Money” here would provide an enthusiastic forum for Cramer near his childhood roots. And after the excitement of last year’s basketball season, it’s clear that our community would make an energetic and passionate audience for the show.

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John Elizandro is a sophomore business major from Radnor, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected]