Bloomberg Lab Gives Students Competitive Edge

November 5, 2018

By Jonathan Burkart '18

Students majoring in finance at Saint Anselm College are thriving in internships, and graduates land employment opportunities at some of the most prestigious financial companies. One of the secrets to securing these coveted positions lies in a major advantage they enjoy during their undergraduate education: hands-on experience with the industry-leading Bloomberg Terminals. The Bloomberg Lab in Joseph Hall, installed in 2016, affords students the unique opportunity to gain practical skills essential to future careers in their industry – all from the comfort of campus.

The lab which now bears his name was made possible by a generous gift from Robert K. Weiler ’73, HD ’00. Weiler, now Executive Vice President, Global Business Units at software giant Oracle Corporation, has had a long and distinguished career in the technology industry, including roles as chairman and CEO of five public companies prior to Oracle. A member of the Oracle Financial Services Board of Directors, Weiler has served on several boards of directors including Saint Anselm where he was chair of the board of trustees from 1999 until 2004.

“Every industry is being transformed by the need for technology and data to manage issues and to help leaders make the best strategic decisions to take their companies further,” says Weiler. “Saint Anselm students are the business leaders of the future, so I hope that the way they learn to evaluate data in real time and reach informed conclusions in the lab will help them to thrive as adaptable and analytical thinkers in the professional world.”

The lab features twelve Bloomberg Terminals for a class of up to 22 students to use. Each terminal contains a computer software system linked to the Bloomberg L.P financial analytics company, and provides users with a platform to research information about stocks before buying and selling them. According to Associate Professor Luke Miller, these machines employ the “exact same interface as the best companies in the world.”

Interactive classes in the lab feature direct training with the machines and the program. Students must learn how to navigate the medium to accomplish value-based tasks and pull specific sets of data. Miller reports that students using the Bloomberg lab in class are more connected to the material because they can interact with it directly.

“Students can immediately read about current events and labor department data online,” Miller says. “They are more engaged because they can talk about Apple stock, and then look at it.”

Saint Anselm’s Bloomberg Lab and the students who use it are unique: it is the only school of its size to have one, benefiting an atypically large number of finance majors for its student population. Miller explains that the financial resources required to support the lab are prohibitive for many smaller schools. Generous alumni like Weiler enable the college to provide special opportunities for students to pursue their passions, and a strong corps of dedicated students ensure that the lab is used with maximum efficiency.

Recent graduate Brenden Cain ’18, now a client administration coordinator at Eaton Vance, took several of his business courses in the Bloomberg Lab, including Financial Management, Investments, Portfolio Analysis, and Student-Managed Investment Fund. Cain credits the terminals with “really developing” his analytical skills; he emphasizes that while using them, students do a deep analysis, as they generate an incredible amount of data that users have to adeptly sift through in order to establish patterns, make predictions, and invest wisely.

“The Bloomberg Lab helped me prepare for my career in finance by giving me access to a different type of experience from a normal class,” says Cain. “Being hands-on and looking through so much information and data was great practical experience.”

As a senior, Hannah Paitchel ’18 was interviewing for her job at Standard and Poor’s Global (S&P) during her Bloomberg Market Concepts course. Now a product consultant at S&P, Paitchel says the course gave her a better understanding of the market as a whole. “I actually talked about the course in my interview and they were very impressed with the knowledge I had from it,” says Paitchel.

The Bloomberg Lab gives finance students a significant advantage in internships and future job searches. Every student that enrolls in one of the many classes that use the lab is required to be certified on the terminals. According to Professor Miller, nearly 70% of all business and economics majors have an internship before they graduate, and their experience with Bloomberg L.P. will help students earn better jobs because they already have the hands-on skill sets necessary to navigate the difficult system. “Saint Anselm students are graduating with a certification that the world’s best companies require their hires to have.”

Miller is also the faculty advisor for the Professional Development Initiative (PDI) Program. The PDI’s mission is to provide financial support to students currently interning or seeking to obtain internships within business organizations. After its launch in the fall of 2016, Miller and the PDI have helped students garner valuable internship experience where they can apply the lessons they learn in the Bloomberg lab and in their business courses.

It’s therefore no surprise that many Saint Anselm students majoring in finance, business, economics, and accounting are fielding job offers from several companies. Senior business majors Erin McLaughlin and Trevor Kacz have already accepted positions at Fidelity Investments and Allstate Financial respectively. Recent graduates work at many of the best financial institutions in the world, including UBS, Goldman Sacs, Bank of America, Eaton Vance, and JP Morgan.