At ESEI, we like to take our students on tours of some of the most important and interesting institutions in the city. The Borsa de Barcelona—or the Barcelona Stock Exchange—is a regular stop for students interested in seeing what really happens on a busy international trading floor.
We spoke to our Finance and Economics Lecturer Shirley O’Donoghue and took a look at what our business students learned on their most recent visit.
Why visit the Borsa de Barcelona
The Borsa de Barcelona is always a fascinating place to explore. Not only is it an important institution in the city but it also has a tradition steeped in history. According to our guides in the centre, it has its roots in the middle ages. That’s when market places began to appear, during the 11-18th Century Commerical Revolution. At this time, the European trade economy began to develop, centring on the exchange of rare commodities from the Middle East and beyond.
Today, of course, traders are not wheeling up Passeig de Gràcia with barrels of spices and bundles of rare silk. They’re trading in the stocks of publicly listed companies.
The Borsa de Barcelona we know today was founded in 1915. It can be found at Passeig de Gràcia 19 and is a famous meeting point for tourists and locals alike. While the facade might be unchanged, inside, things have moved on a lot over the past 100 years or so. And for our students, it pays to see how these trades really work, first-hand.
The role of technology in the modern stock exchange
Just like on the trading floors in New York and London, the Borsa is an economic hub. Students can see the prices at which the investors and traders are buying and selling, the rise and fall of the market and how supply and demand affect the prices of each security.
Modern traders use cutting-edge technology and electronic trading systems to access global markets in real-time. One of the most striking features of the building is a huge video-wall, which consists of over 1000 monitors that display six high-resolution stock tickers.
Shirley explains that algorithmic investing and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) have become more important to traders.
“When we think of the stock exchange, the image that comes to mind is of white-shirted traders shouting out prices,” she says. “Today, the exchange is a quiet place, the outcome of which is that some of the ‘romance’ of the trading floor is lost. On the other hand, the markets are extremely efficient now. This ensures the best and fairest prices for everyone.”
What students learn at the Borsa de Barcelona
“The students are trying to get to grips with the concepts of supply and demand and how buyers and sellers come together to find a price that is acceptable to both parties,” says Shirley. “I can think of no better place than the stock exchange to enable them to see this in action.”
In essence, our students are able to see the reality of the stock market. “It is interesting to see it in action in order to understand how it works and to update our image of what a stock exchange looks like,” says Shirley.
When it comes to learning more about the stock market, there are myriad resources available, explains Shirley. “However, I would recommend going to a website that enables you to use a trade simulator.”
Trade simulators allow you to practise buying and selling shares without actually losing money. “One of the top ones is Wall Street Survivor,” says Shirley.
Valuable knowledge for the future
Understanding the mechanics of a stock exchange lays a solid foundation for our students. They come to understand the principles of trade and see what our economy is based on. This can only help students in their future careers and with their future investments.
ESEI graduates will take on a huge range of challenges in the future. Many will go on to work in PLCs and some will become entrepreneurs whose companies may go public one day.
“There is no doubt that understanding how the stocks of companies are bought and sold and what the share price means would be of benefit,” says Shirley. “It will help them understand the motivations for the objectives and targets that they are working towards. They can also see the fruits of their labour reflected in growing share values.”
Get to know more about ESEI’s dynamic programs
At ESEI, we take our students’ professional development seriously. We encourage our students – whether they are undertaking a bachelor’s degree or a master’s – to take part in trips like this so that can see how the theory works in practice. At the same time, our students take part in internships in the business community of Barcelona. Many choose to work in PLCs and get the chance to test their skills and knowledge in publicly traded companies.
Is it time to take the next step in your career? Get in touch with us to find out about our variety of Bachelors and masters programmes today!