College of Business opens financial trading room

November 15 2007

A slice of Wall Street has come to Indiana State University with the grand opening Thursday (Nov. 15) of a financial trading room.

Housed on the first floor of the College of Business, the trading room features multiple stock tickers, three video data walls and 24 student work stations with dual monitors.

“The financial trading room provides access to a variety of professional financial databases and enlivens the environment of the college for faculty, staff, and students,” said Nancy Merritt, dean of the College of Business.

“Students do a lot of research in preparing for their classes, so this is a hands-on trading room that has been built very similar to what companies have in the major marketplaces,” Bruce McLaren, associate dean of the College of Business, added. “In Indiana, this type of room is quite rare. There are only a handful of schools that are using trading rooms.”

The trading room will help jump-start the professional careers of finance and financial services students, Amit Sinha, assistant professor of finance, said. In addition to offering a finance major, the College of Business recently launched a new financial services major at ISU to prepare students in a variety of fields, including investments, banking, and insurance.

“This room has two components, investments and trading,” Sinha said. “In the investment component, students will get an idea of what to invest in and will learn how to implement investments through a trading process. To be in an academic environment and get that experience, our students will become that much more competitive in the job market.”

Members of ISU’s Student Investment Club have already shown their expertise by managing a real $110,000 portfolio that recently grew in value by approximately 10 percent in just six weeks. Club members say the trading room may help them do even better in the future.

“I was excited when I first heard that it was going to be built and that it gives the environment of real live trading. There is a lot of detail that goes in to investing. Having the tickers and the information available at eye level motivates you to dig deeper. It’s a wonderful opportunity,” said club President Bobbie Jackson, a finance and economics major from Detroit.

“Having the trading room will motivate more students to come in and work in such a great environment. The investment club involves a lot of teamwork. The more information we have, the better we will do, and the more members we get the more information we will have,” added Mansour Alturki of Terre Haute, a senior finance major and the club’s vice president.

The trading room and its operations are funded in part by gifts from Randall and Nancy Minas and Lilly Endowment Inc.

“Because it’s one of the few in the country, the financial trading room gives students at ISU a good head start with the tools that are needed to come out of college more prepared than most for the financial world,” said Randall Minas, a senior vice president with Merrill Lynch in Merrillville.

Minas said the dynamics have the financial world have changed dramatically since he started in 1976.

“They’re far more complex, far more global in nature and there are far more variables that affect the financial markets on a minute-to-minute basis,” he said.” The data feed and information provided the center are state-of-the-art and tend to be up to date with the information as well as the ability to use the information to arrive at investment strategy and following that strategy to conclusion,”.

“It has been very exciting to see the trading room go from paper, from just a thought, to realization in such a short time. It’s going to be such a benefit to all students,” Nancy Minas added.

In January, the Minases announced a $150,000 gift to the ISU Foundation, the first in a series of gifts to support investment and financial education programs. A 125 percent match by Lilly Endowment brought the total value of the gift to $337,500. The Student Investment Club will be investing the gift in conjunction with the club advisor, Tarek Zaher, professor of finance, and the foundation.

Randall Minas and the couple’s daughter, Dawn, owner/operator of the Culver Coffee Co., are both ISU alumni.

Indiana State University has designated financial services as a program of national distinction as part of "Fulfilling the Promise - The Path to Pre-eminence," a plan to raise Indiana State to a high level of prominence in the state, Midwest region and nation. The plan is partially funded by a gift from the Lilly Endowment Initiative to Recruit and Retain Intellectual Capital for Indiana Higher Education Institutions.

Additional information about the financial services program, including the trading room, is available at www.indstate.edu/finsvcs.

Photos:
Financial Trading Room Students and faculty in Indiana State University's College of Business now have access to a new financial trading room featuring stock tickers, video data walls and 24 student work stations with dual monitors. (Kara Berchem/ISU)
Photo gallery

Trading Room in the news
Listen to Bruce McLaren, associate dean of the College of Business, describe the Financial Trading room for Inside INdiana Business.
Read coverage of the Trading Room's opening by the Tribune-Star

Contact: Bruce McLaren, associate dean, College of Business, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3606 or bmclaren@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

A slice of Wall Street has come to Indiana State University with the grand opening Thursday of a financial trading room. Housed on the first floor of the College of Business, the trading room features multiple stock tickers, three video data walls and 24 student work stations with dual monitors.

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