Finance is complex, and often overwhelming for most people. The 2008 global crash was an invisible tsunami, which continues to affect ordinary lives even today. Research and teaching at Suffolk Business School exposes this corruption and inequality, through the use of various media – blogs, newspaper articles, research papers, field trips, and yes, the creative use of film and video. We all remember from our schooldays how field trips are often the most memorable because they are real, whole experiences. Film and video can be a proxy for them, but they need to be chosen carefully, and introduced and discussed for the message to assimilate.
During our Suffolk Business Festival week this year, we chose to show a film on finance to our students called ‘The Money Monster’. The actors were famous (George Clooney and Julia Roberts), but the plot was also very real – it depicted someone who was ripped off by high finance, and decided to take personal revenge. Banking and rip-off are everyday news, but someone taking the law into their own hands and seeking justice is not. The process of seeking justice revealed the white collar crime, expert collusion, bribery and deceit.
We introduced the setting of the film, and its relevance to modern experiences of the inequities of finance. Students today are often in debt, have to work to pay their living costs and as a result, have little time to absorb and reflect. They are also used to videos and film, and often find the lecture a difficult medium for learning. After the film, we discussed the meaning and some of the finance technicalities used in the film. The whole experience enhanced student learning.
There are fascinating campaigns often founded by students, such as Positive Money, Post-Crash Economics Society – trying to reform finance and make it understandable and equitable. This film goes some way towards doing that. Here at Suffolk Business School, we empower students to take control over finance, rather than let it control them. And culture and ethics lie at the very heart of it all – we remove them from the periphery.
Dr Atul K. Shah, Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Finance