sealPurdue News

September 1999

Purdue students tap into power of Web-investing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue University students are cashing in on a course that teaches them the ins and outs of investing, particularly on-line investing, at an early age.

Last spring, all 200 seats were taken in Professor Sugato Chakravarty's undergraduate personal finance course, and two more classes will be added when students return in the fall.

Although many of the students don't have the money to invest now, Chakravarty says he sees his job as preparing them for the future.

"Giving a student a degree, a nice paycheck and the opportunity to invest without the knowledge of how to invest is like giving them a loaded gun without showing them how to use it," he says.

Chakravarty, who's been teaching the course for three years, says the fact that students are both computer and market savvy is driving the trend in young would-be investors.

Although the course also addresses credit, insurance and retirement issues, over half of the time is devoted to demystifying the stock market and learning how to use the World Wide Web to research and invest in various stocks.

"Above all, I emphasize that you need to be an educated consumer," Chakravarty says. "And that's easier than ever if you know how to find reputable information on the Internet."

Chakravarty is quick to warn his students and others not to try to compete with the on-line professional day traders who can still get in and out of a market faster than the average on-line investor.

"While the Internet has empowered the average investor, it's also created a greater volatility in the market on a daily basis," he says. "The potential pitfalls of on-line trading can come from false information or rumors in chat rooms or a temporary groundswell of excitement over a particular stock."

He encourages his students to remember the fundamentals of sound investment strategy and not to trade on sentiment.

CONTACT: Chakravarty, (765) 494-6427;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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