Preparing students for growing financial services market | CoB News

Southern Illinois University



Preparing students for growing financial services market

October 02, 2014, Christie Mitchell

${image-alt} Members of Saluki Student Investment Fund (SSIF) stand in the Kraft Trading Room in Rehn Hall.

The SIU College of Business is prepared to help meet the increased demands of new job openings in the areas of finance and accounting. Baby boomers are exiting the workforce and creating new employment opportunities in the financial services industry. A recent report by shows significant increases in demand for qualified financial service providers. Personal financial advisers top the list with a forecasted increase of 32 percent from 2010 to 2020 (Monsterstaff, 2014). The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics further anticipates employment in the accounting field will grow 13 percent by 2022.

The SIU College of Business aids in meeting this demand for high-caliber professionals by offering students a variety of degrees and programs within the fields of finance and accounting. These programs prepare students to enter into these booming industries, or grow their careers within them. The college provides access to educational opportunities that empowers students to compete in a global economy.  Opportunities include student involvement, access to cutting edge technology, academic assistance, career services and innovative online degree completion programs. 

For students living on campus, the College of Business offers a Freshman Interest Group (FIG) and a Living Learning Community (LLC), where business students reside in the same residence hall. Members of the FIG attend special events and lunch meetings that feature discussions and guest speakers, and they also have the opportunity to network with faculty and staff in addition to receiving assistance with career and professional development.

From their first day on campus, students have the ability to participate in one of the many student groups, such as the Saluki Student Investment Fund (SSIF), where they gain hands-on investment experience. The $1.43 million SSIF has consistently outperformed about 90 percent of professionally managed funds in recent years. 

In fall 2013, the Graduate Student Investment Fund (GSIF) was started as an extension of the SSIF. The idea for the GSIF was developed by students who were active in the SSIF and are continuing their education into graduate school. The GSIF partners with the SIU foundation and manages $500,000.

SIU College of Business students have access to, and are trained on, state-of-the-art Bloomberg terminals. Bloomberg terminals are computer systems that nearly all investment firms use to monitor and analyze real-time financial market data. The terminals also are used to gather news and company information. Graduating with a working knowledge of Bloomberg technology allows students to quickly integrate into the financial workforce.

To encourage academic success, Rehn 10, or the Academic Success Center, located in the College of Business, offers tutoring to all of its students. Tutoring is readily available for many of the more challenging math and financial courses.

As students enter their junior and senior years, the Business Placement Center helps qualified students find internships and externships. This provides the students with practical, real-world experience that often leads to job offers. Matt Purdy, associate director of placement and services, says the college had 38 students participate in the 2014 spring break extern program with 30 different companies.

For off-campus student, there are two online degree completion options offered. The online business and the accounting programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). They are formatted for the student who already has completed first two years of a four year degree (about 60 hours) and wants to obtain a bachelor’s degree. The programs typically take about 24 months to complete, but they do allow for flexible scheduling. The accounting bachelor’s degree competition program offers content areas necessary to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam.

The College of Business also offers two graduate degrees. Master of Accountancy and Master of Business Administration degrees are offered on the SIU Carbondale campus. In addition, the college offers an innovative online M.B.A. program. The online M.B.A. program launched in 2009 and has since earned the No. 51 spot on the U.S. News listing of the best online graduate business programs.

The SIU College of Business has the programs and degree options in place to effectively and thoroughly prepare its graduates for successful careers in finance and accounting. To learn more, visit the website or send an email to