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Laurier’s Bloomberg lab gives business students a leg up
Mar 12/12| For Immediate Release
Madhu Kalimipalli, Associate Professor of Finance
Kevin Crowley, Director, Communications & Public Affairs
WATERLOO – There is a wealth of data available on financial markets to anyone with an Internet connection, but when finance professionals need to dig deeper, they turn to high-powered proprietary data systems like the storied Bloomberg Terminals.
Now students at Wilfrid Laurier University have access to 12 Bloomberg Terminals and a full slate of courses on how to use them, thanks to the joint efforts of finance faculty from the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and Prism Resources, a student-led training and services organization, coupled with other on-campus groups.
“The news media can give you a flavour of what’s happening, but you need deeper data, which is why Bloomberg is so important,” said Madhu Kalimpalli, associate professor of finance and director of the university’s Financial Services Research Centre. “It’s an enormous asset for the university and for students.”
Bloomberg Terminals are designed to enable finance professionals to monitor and analyze a massive amount of financial-market data in real time. Created by billionaire financier and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the system also provides news, price quotes and other services. (Users of the Laurier terminals aren’t authorized to execute trades in the lab, although they frequently use the terminals to research trades made on their own time.)
“This is a great system for us to have,” said Dylan Hsu, a Laurier finance student and Bloomberg services manager with Prism. “It’s used extensively throughout the financial industry and if people can see that you have that experience it’s huge in terms of career preparation.”
Under the arrangement between finance faculty and Prism Resources, student instructors from Prism teach a wide range of courses open to Laurier students. These include general introductory classes on the basics of using a Bloomberg Terminal to advanced courses on how to use the terminals in specific fields, like investment banking, or to analyze specific markets, such as the such as equity, fixed income, foreign exchange, derivative, and commodity markets. Finance faculty members also integrate Bloomberg into their teaching of advanced elective courses.
“It’s a chance for our students to participate in high-level research, and an opportunity for the faculty to access over-the-counter market data in their research,” said Kalimpalli.
The project germinated after Kalimpalli returned to Laurier from a research sabbatical at Bloomberg’s fixed-income research and development group in New York in 2007. He, along with Finance Area Coordinator Brian Smith, met with Prism, which provides services such as printing stations, laptop plugs in classrooms, and a range of training programs to Laurier business students.
A single terminal was introduced in SBE on Laurier’s Waterloo campus in 2008, and the Bloomberg lab with 11 terminals opened in the fall of 2011. PRISM agreed to share the cost of the 11 terminals with the Library and SBE. The Math department covered the cost of the annual subscription for one terminal, located in the Bricker Academic Building, for use by financial mathematics students.
The organizers are continuing to expand the Bloomberg programs, with a course on Thomson Reuters’ Datastream financial statistical database added this term. In addition, a trading floor – including Bloomberg terminals, stock tickers and the ability to simulate real-time trading – is in the planning stages. The trading floor will be located in the university’s $103 million Global Innovation Exchange building, which is expected to open in early 2015.
“Financial markets are constantly evolving, and so are the methods for tracking them,” said Kalimpalli. “As educators, we need to be on top of that, to add more value for the students.”