At Fairfield University's Dolan School of Business, Bloomberg technology know-how of great value to students, certification viewed as carrying a competitive edge
(Posted on May 04, 2011)
Undergraduates Lauren Miller and Brian Shea huddle around a computer terminal at Fairfield University's Dolan School of Business, hanging on every word of Professor Michael Tucker.
"Let's get a [Historical Return] Histogram of this particular stock," Tucker instructs students, who scan multiple web pages on Home Depot that offer a company overview, technical studies, company news and valuation and risk charts. "You probably didn't know there was this much ratio... Any ratio you can imagine is in there."
The computer is not a typical one found in most business schools. It's a Bloomberg Terminal, loaded with special databases central to making stock purchases and trades.
"From what I see, it's about having the best information so you can make good choices," said Miller.
When New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg founded Bloomberg L.P. in 1981, his goal was to create an information-service, news, and media company that provides business and financial professionals with the tools and data they need on a single, all-inclusive platform. The Bloomberg technology provides real-time and historical financial news and information for central banks, investment institutions, commercial banks, government offices and agencies, law firms, corporations and news organizations in over 160 countries.
A growing number of Fairfield students have become ‘Bloomberg' certified, in part because it's especially attractive to prospective employers. Moreover, finance students were the ones that originally asked Tucker and colleagues about obtaining the Bloomberg technology, since many were encountering it at internships at prominent financial companies. For many students looking to work in the financial industry, it's crucial to learn how to use the technology because it will quite simply help them do their jobs better.
Andrew Kern, a senior from Oak Brook, Illinois, earned certification after realizing it's the only way financial companies verify you are adept in the technology, called Bloomberg Professional. "It looks good on a resume," said the double major in finance and Information Systems. "It is something important to know especially in the field of finance with many companies demanding Bloomberg certification especially Merrill Lynch."
Johnny Paradise, of Limerick, Ireland, observed Bloomberg know-how can give one a competitive edge in the job market, key to him as his country struggles with high unemployment. "If you become Bloomberg certified, you give companies a big reason to hire you," said the master's degree candidate.
Tucker, professor of finance, pointed out students from other business schools routinely call Fairfield to become certified, a process requiring watching tutorial videos and taking numerous exams. "No, we can't have them come here just for that," he said. "Some tell us that they can't start jobs until they get certified."
Graduate student Karl Muth said, "I have found the Bloomberg terminals to be of great use," he said. "They are indispensible for student research in the finance program."
Kevin Meyer, an MBA candidate from South Windsor, Conn., said Bloomberg will undoubtedly help him in his career. At Fairfield, he's used the terminals to do an evaluation of United Technologies' future stock price, report on natural gas futures and conduct a Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC). "I love them," he said. "The information is all right there so you don't have to go to 10 different [financial web] sites to get it... What is great too is that we have 24/7 access to this [Dolan School] lab where some of them are."
In order to help students fully comprehend their value, Valeria Martinez, assistant professor of finance, invited a Wall Street banker to class. "It was quite helpful to see how a professional would use Bloomberg," said graduate student Susan Serven, of New Canaan, Conn., noting it's valuable to use in the financial industry.
Tucker and colleagues offer tutorials in how to use the Bloomberg terminals in the school's Business Education Simulation and Trading (BEST) Classroom. Soon, there will be four more terminals installed with the technology, for a total of 16 Bloomberg terminals. According to Norm Solomon, Ph.D. dean of the Dolan School, the Bloomberg initiative has helped students remain at the cutting edge in the world of Finance. "Moreover the value of the initiative captured the imagination of members of our Advisory Council and of our other alumni who have given generously to support the purchase of the service," he noted.
"Bloomberg is the biggest news company in the world - they own Business Week," Tucker shares. "You'll get the top news stories of the moment."
Kern, who has been assisting students at faculty led tutorials, noted the terminals give you the ability to access "massive amounts" of information very quickly. "But you have to be trained or familiar with the system to find the relevant information," he said. "I knew I needed to learn and understand the Bloomberg software before I left Fairfield if I really wanted to become a serious trader."
Image: Bloomberg Terminals at Fairfield University's Dolan School of Business are loaded with special databases central to making stock purchases and trades, which students are finding of great value at internships and in their careers. Pictured is Shane Kurtz '11, of Easton, Mass., a double major in finance and Information Systems.
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Vol. 43, No. 296