When news broke recently about changes of leadership at Research in Motion, fingers began to fly across Bloomberg terminal keyboards worldwide. The latest tech sector data was being scrutinized to decipher if the company’s stock will gain ground or continue in free fall.
Where was this kind of real-time analysis and number crunching taking place? Most certainly on Wall Street and Bay Street, and now more than ever by students at the Sauder School of Business.
With the establishment of the new Wayne Deans Investment Analysis Centre, students have gained dramatically increased access to global capital markets in real time. Offering nine Bloomberg terminals, four Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ workstations and four Thomson Reuters Datastream workstations, the centre is a powerful hub, offering a full range of high tech financial tools used by leading investment banking professionals.
“If we want to take students from understanding theories in a textbook to where they can understand how to apply those ideas in a real-world capital markets context, we need the world conveniently located inside the building,” says finance Associate Professor Murray Carlson describing the power of the investment centre that he help create and implement.
Students are currently putting the new tools to the test in courses that require them to tap into their rich sources of data to create stock valuation models and guide mergers and acquisitions decisions. Not only is the investment centre the first of its kind for a British Columbia educational institution, but Carlson also notes that Sauder will lead North American schools in how the tools are being used.
“Sauder is on the cutting edge in terms of integrating this technology into the finance curriculum,” he says. “The combination of the information these resources can provide and the theories and models we teach in class can be extremely powerful.”
Carlson uses one of Sauder’s new portable Bloomberg Anywhere terminals to display data from the system on a large-scale screen for students in his Applied Financial Markets course to consider. He says the days of using dated case studies to test theories are numbered now that professors can apply models directly to activity taking place in the market at any given time.
Wayne Deans, the leading Vancouver finance professional who provided the support to create the investment analysis centre through a $2.2 million gift to UBC’s start an evolution campaign, says he wanted to give students a tool that would benefit them in their studies and in their careers after graduation.
“This is an important tool for students to develop the skills necessary to enter the investment world, a world I’ve lived in for the last 45 years,” says the veteran member of the Vancouver financial services community. “The building blocks of the investment business are based on information. That’s where it all starts and that’s what this centre is all about. We are providing the first steps, connecting students with the information they require to quickly move forward in their work and put theory into practice.”
Deans has been actively involved with UBC’s BCom program for the past 25 years, since helping to establish Sauder’s Portfolio Management Foundation program, which gives students real world experience investing in the capital markets. Dedicating countless hours mentoring students, he laments not having access to similar investment technology when he was in school.
“If I had access to something like this when I was at university, I would have spent every non-classroom hour in that room. I would have had my name on one of those chairs and I never would have left it,” jokes Deans who holds a BCom and MBA. “For students who are similarly inclined, it is going to be a wonderful place for them to work, experiment and share information.”
This is definitely the case for BCom student John Sanden, who regularly logs around eight hours a week of his free time in the Wayne Deans Investment Analysis Centre and who has already received the Bloomberg Certification using self-directed video tutorials made available through the terminals. The finance student, who is using the investment research tools to prepare for the upcoming CFA Institute Research Challenge, says the investment analysis centre is fast becoming a hub at the school.
“There is a group of likeminded people that I see coming together at the centre. They all want to learn by doing, which is the only way you can get a handle on this kind of technology,” says Sanden. “It’s great to have access to this equipment and to be able to learn how to use it while we’re still in school, instead of trying to get up to speed when we enter the workforce. I think it will definitely give us an edge.”