Finance, banking and insurance double major attends academy in China, expands his perspective on global markets

Appalachian State University junior Lawson Benfield attended the Global Academy at the Southwest University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China this summer.

Lawson -- a finance, banking and insurance double major from Apex, North Carolina -- was initially interested in the changes occurring to global insurance markets. With encouragement from Brantley Risk and Insurance Center managing director David Marlett, Benfield's interest became the learning experience of a lifetime.

"The Global Academy attracts people from all over the world who are interested in learning about global business and the role that Chinese economics and finance plays," said Marlett. "Experiences like these take Walker College of Business students beyond the traditional college classroom learning experience."

The Brantley Center supports student engagement with the insurance industry, both nationally and internationally.

Each year, the Brantley Center coordinates student group travel opportunities to London and Bermuda to facilitate learning about global insurance markets as well as global engagement and experience.

Benfield, who is a cross country, track and field student athlete and an Appalachian Student Ambassador, said the experience "will help me continue a global perspective when completing other coursework." While in China, he engaged in discussions relevant to potential careers including real estate, health systems, blockchain and corporate governance.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Benfield, who also visited the Dujiang Dam, the Research Base of the Giant Panda and many museums around Chengdu, during his trip.

About the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center

The Brantley Risk and Insurance Center in Appalachian State University's Walker College of Business enhances the academic experience by providing space and staff to assist risk management and insurance majors with networking, job placement preparation and contact with faculty members outside the classroom. It provides students opportunities to participate in professional designation and licensing programs, and invites industry leaders to participate in classes and speak to student organizations. It also fosters research and faculty development, assists the insurance industry in the design and delivery of continuing education programs and helps educate the public about the insurance industry.  Learn more at

Lawson Benfield (Photo Submitted)
Published: Sep 13, 2018 11:19pm