“Boo-yahs” were ringing in the Pavilion on Thursday when the CNBC show “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” filmed an episode on campus as part of the show’s “Back to School Tour.”
Cramer, with his patented “boo-yah” shouting and animated discussion of the daily happenings on the stock market, not only did the taping of the show, but also visited the School of Business earlier in the day.
Cramer sat down with The Villanovan to discuss why he came to the University, the stock market and his advice for college students.
After years of trying to organize a taping at Villanova, Cramer was able to bring the show to campus.
“Villanova is a meaningful place because Villanova is a school that cares about the show,” he said.
There was overwhelming support by students, faculty, administration and alumni. This did not occur at other schools the show had looked into, Cramer said.
“It changes the energy,” he noted.
Cramer is also a Philadelphia area native; he grew up in Springfield, Montgomery County. His father still lives in the area and he visits a couple of times a month.
He is also an Eagles season ticket holder and a big Philadelphia sports fan. When he and his family celebrate his dad’s birthday with cheesesteaks at Geno’s, he even gets a special table inside near the kitchen.
“My roots are here, but my life is here, not just my roots,” Cramer said.
Cramer graduated from Harvard and initially went into journalism working as a homicide reporter. He spent several years as a journalist, during which time his home was robbed and he eventually ended up living in his car.
While on assignment in a different city, he became ill and his HMO medical plan didn’t cover him. It was at this point that he realized he needed to find a job that allowed him to make money. His mom wanted him to be a writer, and his father wanted him to be able to support himself.
Cramer told his mom “one day I’m going to come back and be creative.”
He went to work at Goldman Sachs. Later on, when he had made a good income from his job at Goldman, he went back to journalism by starting a website called thestreet.com. He is now combining his knowledge of the stock market and his passion for journalism with “Mad Money.”
“My mission is for people to know more about the market,” Cramer said.
While he has received criticism for some of his actions on the show, including aspects such as the noise machine and other parts that critics say have debased the topic, he says that he has the connections and knowledge necessary.
“I try to make it, not simple, because it’s not simple.,” Cramer said. “I try to make it understandable and in order to do that I’ve got to have sounds, I’ve got to have whistles, I’ve got to put outfits on, I’ve got to make people understand what Boeing does versus what American Express does versus what Kimberly does…I want to keep people interested. If they’re interested in their money they will be a better investor or maybe more importantly be a better client.”
Cramer feels that most people want to know more about the stock market, but they do not know how to go about acquiring this knowledge.
Making the stock market fun and interesting gives people who want to learn more a reason to do so.
He also gave his advice to students who are interested in going into finance.
“Set the alarm at quarter of four,” Cramer said. “Cause you’ve got to beat everyone. The bad guys get up early and you’ve got to get up early. And the bad guys are everybody else that you’re competing with and they are bad and you are good. The good guys get up earlier than the bad guys.”
During his visit to the School of Business, Cramer spoke to students in the applied finance lab.
He asked the students what stocks they were interested in and discussed his thoughts about their choices.
Cramer also fielded questions from the students, one of whom asked how he prepared for the program at Villanova.
Cramer described the process, saying that the first step was to choose a guest for the show. The guest on that day’s show was Sally Smith, CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings.
This guest was fitting for a taping on a college campus, Cramer said, not only because Buffalo Wild Wings is a good stock, but also because it relates to sports, particularly March Madness.
He also discussed how he and the “Mad Money” crew were trying to prepare a segment on beer for Thursday’s taping.
Heineken reported a bad quarter a few days earlier. Cramer had some hypotheses as to why, but he could not find anything conclusive enough. Instead, he decided to do a segment on Microsoft.
The taping of the show began with Cramer’s interview with Smith, the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings.
During the break following the filming of this segment, Cramer spoke to the audience about that particular stock and advice for investing, saying “I particularly tell people your age, find something you like.”
Next, the crew filmed the opening to the show, which had Cramer walking in through a line of band members and cheerleaders as the band played the Villanova fight song.
The taping then proceeded with a “Lightning Round” where students in the audience could ask Cramer what he thought about certain stocks, a “Quiz Cramer” question and answer period and a segment where members of the Equity Society discussed what they thought of certain stocks.
Throughout the breaks in between segments, Cramer talked with the audience and tossed out toy bulls, which are one of the trademarks of the show.
The taping concluded with Cramer doing his closing segment with the crowd cheering in the background. The show then went on the air minutes later at 6 p.m. and replayed later that night at 11 p.m.