Blythe Masters, head of Global Commodities for J.P. Morgan, said commodities are a fascinating business sector that challenge students to develop an array of marketable skill sets.
Providing outstanding education and research for this dynamic global field is the J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities at the University of Colorado Denver Business School. The first-of-its-kind center opened in 2012 as the crown jewel in the new home of the CU Denver Business School, the largest accredited graduate school of business in the Rocky Mountain West.
J.P. Morgan, which contributed $5.5 million to the Business School, will be among the honorees at this year’s Donor Recognition Dinner on Feb. 13 at the Seawell Ballroom in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The annual invitation-only event recognizes donors who are making a transformative difference at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus.
Masters, who started her career as a commodities trader with J.P. Morgan in 1991, will be among the dignitaries at this year’s recognition dinner. She is excited to see the J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities develop into an important resource that provides innovative courses and research in commodity finance, economics, regulations, trading, ethics and policy.
“These scholars, who are studying to be experts in the field, will no doubt return to the workforce and greatly contribute in their individual capacities,” Masters said.
She added that the center provides relevant and interesting course work as well as significant engagement with the local business community. “All of those things were what we were looking to achieve, and they’re all happening.”
Today’s business students are motivated by a diversity of opportunity and the ability to work on an array of projects that combine different skill sets, Masters said.
“The commodities space offers all of that,” she said. “It involves underlying markets, which are dynamic and volatile. It involves technology and technology development. It involves the deployment of significant amounts of capital and risk. So you can hone skills that relate to markets, engineering and technology, and business management.”
The J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities exemplifies the real-world education students receive at the CU Denver Business School. The center revolves around experiential learning that exposes students to commodity foundations and investing, internships, field trips and speaker series.
Because commodities deal with “real materials” — such as oil, grain and metals — students can readily identify their value in society, Masters noted.
“If you’re involved in generating power that’s going to serve a community, which in turn drives business growth, job generation and relative competitiveness — all of those things have a real and tangible output,” she said. “That is definitely what makes commodities different relative to some of the more traditional market activities that aren’t as tangible.”
(Photo: Pictured from left at the 2012 ribbon cutting for the J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities: Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia; Robert Engel, CEO of CoBank; CU Denver Business School Dean Sueann Ambron; Blythe Masters, J.P. Morgan head of Global Commodities; CU President Bruce Benson; U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet; and Don Elliman, chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus.)