RIC’s Finance Lab, a Leader in Bloomberg Technology
Established in 2011, RIC’s state-of-the-art Finance Lab boasts Bloomberg technology – the “gold standard” in the financial industry.
“Bloomberg Professional software is used by every large investment bank and brokerage firm in the industry,” said Jeff Mello, dean of the School of Management, and among educational institutions in the region, RIC has been a forerunner in the use of this technology, he said.
In order to remain ahead of the curve and to make the most use of the technology, Mello wants to extend the use of the Bloomberg data services across disciplines.
“Most colleges and universities employ this data service strictly in their finance courses and are not fully leveraging its capabilities,” Mello remarked. “I’d like to find out how Bloomberg’s vast database can be used in other majors. I think it has capabilities above and beyond what we are using right now and I am very excited to explore that.”
Recently Mello hosted a campus Bloomberg Day wherein a Bloomberg rep was invited to lead a daylong session attended by faculty and students. The purpose was to explore how to use Bloomberg data in courses outside of finance.
Mello also asked the rep to examine all of the other School of Management majors – accounting, computer information systems, economics, health care administration, marketing and management – and suggest ways that the data service might be used in these curricula.
Lisa Church, professor of accounting, attended two of the evening sessions. She found the presentations “electrifying,” and noted, “our students’ questions and participation reflected the energy in the room. Following the presentation, I received a great deal of positive feedback from our students.”
Kemal Saatcioglu, visiting assistant professor of finance, agreed: “There was immediate feedback from several of the 100-plus students who attended. I think Bloomberg Discovery Day was hugely successful in generating interest and fueling curiosity. We plan to make it an annual event.”
All School of Management students are trained to use the software and, upon completion, receive Bloomberg certification. Training and certification are built into FIN 301: Managerial Finance and Control, a required course for all School of Management students.
“To my knowledge, we are the only business school anywhere that builds Bloomberg certification into the core curriculum,” said Mello. “Certification tells a potential employer that their candidate knows how to navigate a massive database.”
The ability to analyze and synthesize “big data” was cited by William Foulkes, chair of the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education, as one of the most important 21st-century workforce skills.
Foulkes noted that with the explosion in new technology and the massive amounts of data that technology is able to collect, along with the infinite possibilities for its application, employers are looking for people who can take big data, synthesize it and create something new.
“Bloomberg data services personifies big data,” Mello said. “It’s so vast that it can be difficult to get a hold of, and it has seemingly limitless capabilities. In our business school, we teach students how to research and collect what seems like overwhelming data and make sense of it.”
Mello added that Bloomberg data services will be an important component in the School of Management’s delivery of new academic programs in the coming year, particularly the undergraduate minor in data science and the master of science in operations management.