Finance Lab gives business students an edge

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The School of Business Finance Lab was dedicated at the start of the University of Indianapolis Homecoming Week. It was created to train business students in programs that they will need to know in their future careers. It will be one of the first few steps in the school’s strategic plan to grow the program in students and curriculum, according to Dean of the School of Business and Professor of Finance Larry Belcher.

Photo by Tony Reeves

The School of Business added the Finance Lab to the first floor of Esch Hall, equipped with a live stock ticker. It was a $300,000 project that brings with it analytic software and a new masters program in Data Analytics.

Belcher said that the Finance Lab will be used for instructional purposes for undergraduate, graduate courses and for students to use for their personal studies. He said that it also can be used for outside instruction for professional groups once it is fully integrated. There is still additional software and hardware that need to be installed for it to be ready for more classes to use. Belcher said the primary function of the Finance Lab is to give students a competitive edge when entering the workforce.

“The biggest important feature is that it provides professional grade tools for students to use and also for students to be certified in [those tools],” Belcher said. “To be able to use the tools they have access to will make them [students] competitive in employment and internships.”

Belcher said that programs such as Bloomberg, Statistical Analysis System and Morningstar will be a part of the curriculum. The programs are business and marketing analytic softwares used to research problems and investment strategies. Currently, students are using Morningstar while the SOB negotiates on the Bloomberg and SAS software packages. 

“[Students] are excited about getting in there and using it because it’s a unique space…”

Until the lab is fully finished, there are not many classes taking place in the lab and is used sporadically and only when needed by classes,professors and students.

Graduate MBA student Emi Ohiomah has not taken any classes that have used the Finance Lab, however, she has taken the class that taught the same skills using the software used in the Finance Lab. According to Ohiomah, the class already had a great way of teaching the skills before and the current one is surpassing her expectations. She said that the lab will take students to an even more advanced level.

“Having the class in the lab will help students perform better research and use Bloomberg terminals to help students research and monitor financial data more efficiently,” Ohiomah said. “The lab also has software that will help them collaborate better and share their findings and data simultaneously.”

The Finance Lab and the start of the $100,000 student-run investment fund were also included in the plan along with the movement of the SOB from the basement to the first floor of Esch Hall. Belcher said that the plan hopes to make the program one of the best, give students the skills that will give them a competitive edge when applying for jobs in the future and create growth within the program.

Photo by Sam Horning

Though the Finance Lab will not be finished until next fall, Associate Professor of Business Matthew Will (above) and other School of Business professors have taken advantage of the space by having class in the lab.

“They [students] are excited about getting in there and using it because it’s a unique space, different from your typical classroom,” Belcher said. “It’s not really a computer lab and it’s not really a typical classroom. It was designed with an educational purpose in mind.”

Belcher said that the Finance Lab has also drawn interest from donors, the business community and prospective students to the university. Belcher said that he used his previous experience as  Dean of Taylor University’s School of Business. During his tenure, he implemented a Finance Lab at Taylor University. The construction of the Finance Lab was mostly logistical because it has been under construction for so long, according to Belcher.

The Finance Lab will be operating for the 2018-2019 year without being fully completed, only open for the UIndy Student Fund course. In the fall of 2019, other courses will be able to meet in the Finance Lab and utilize the additional software that will be added.

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