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Tippie Business Student Alex Cullen Helps Bring Mad Money Tour to UI

"Mad Money," the nightly CNBC show known for button-pounding, bobblehead-decapitating, steadicam-baiting, boo-yah shouting host Jim Cramer, will air from The University of Iowa on Wednesday, Nov. 12. The show will be taped in the afternoon from the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union for broadcast on CNBC later that evening.

The show makes several stops each year at college and university campuses across the country. Past stops have included Harvard University, Columbia University, Boston College, the University of Michigan, Indiana University and, most recently, Penn State University. The college shows have the atmosphere of a football game, with yelling, screaming, and pom-poms that match (and, in some cases, drive up) the already high energy level of the host.

Bringing the show to Iowa was the brainchild of the Financial Management Association student group and its president, Alex Cullen. The group produced a video last spring on the UI campus, which they sent to "Mad Money" producers in hopes of getting their attention.

"The show is creative, different, and interesting, so I knew that what would appeal to them had to be creative, different, and interesting, as well," said Cullen.

The video produced is, indeed, all of those things. "Road to the Mad House" riffs off the theme "Cramer is running for president" (it was taped just a few months after the Iowa caucuses and politics was still in the air). It features Cullen himself as Jim Cramer, his face goateed and head shaved into a horseshoe-balding pattern so that he bears a striking resemblance to the host.

Coproduced and directed with University of Iowa film student Steve Healey, the 15-minute video features Cullen's Cramer on the steps of Old Capitol, extolling the virtues of The University of Iowa while exhorting the crowd to make him the President of the United States of "Cramerica." The movie's "cast" is made up largely of friends and fellow members of the Financial Management Association. It also features an appearance by Curt Hunter, dean of the Tippie College of Business, whose pronouncements are accompanied by the occasional trumpet flourish.

Cullen said he wanted to bring "Mad Money" to Iowa because the show in part helped determine his career path. He started watching it three years ago and became intrigued by the markets, and after he looked into the topic further, he decided to change his major to finance.

"Cramer's crazy antics caught my attention and got me interested in the markets," he said. "He helped me change my focus from not really knowing what I wanted to do, to knowing that I wanted a career in finance. I hoped to bring him here to meet him and also to help bring some visibility to the University."

"He really took this initiative by himself and displayed great ingenuity, creativity, and leadership," Hunter said. "It's a demonstration of everything we hope for in the students we educate at the Tippie College, and we're grateful to him for his hard work."

The video that Cullen submitted to "Mad Money" producers can be found on YouTube in two parts. Part I is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtSbioBsEyY. Part II is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYrz2JC7SWc.


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