The 2,200 square-foot Capital Markets Lab (CML) in the new College of Business Administration complex hums with action and exudes the aura of a bustling start-up. Since January, 2008, when classes began there, the area—animated by a curving 66-foot long, real-time stock quote ticker like those in brokerage firms years ago and an array of workstations sporting the leading financial software, including a Bloomberg terminal—has provided a high-powered atmosphere for hands-on learning.
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No one experiences that more than the six students who are earning three elective credits for learning the software, teaching others, and helping maintain the lab twelve hours per week each.
“Joyce J. Elam, executive dean, suggested using students in the lab and it’s been great,” said the lab’s director, Helen K. Simon, instructor, Department of Finance and Real Estate. “Their résumés will benefit because of their expertise in financial applications. They’re helping others. And this first group is learning how a small business runs because they are getting in at the beginning and their ideas are helping create our policies.”
From left to right: Michael Castell, Miriam Lam, and Jonathan Nejad
Carefully chosen for their academic strengths, their motivation, and how well they interact with the staff, each intern must gain proficiency in all the software while also learning one or two software programs in depth so they can educate their peers and the staff.
Interns value experience and Simon hopes to expand it.
Three senior finance majors laud their internships.
Jonathan Nejad, who “loves stocks” and has started his own investment company, is learning Crystal Ball and @Risk, and enjoys answering questions because “I realize I am learning the software,” while Michael Castell, describes the technology in the lab as “amazing,” and finds this job “enables me to grow as a person and as a student.” As Miriam Lam masters Salesforce.com, a customer relationship management (CRM) program, she appreciates that “I learn something new every day, meet new people, and get to integrate the knowledge I already have with what I am learning.”
Simon hopes the lab, already popular within the business school, also will became a magnet for the local finance community—one of the intended beneficiaries of the students’ expanded knowledge—through business leaders presenting guest lectures, offering internships, or even making donations.
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“The way we are preparing all our finance students to tie together theories and practice is the difference between a piece of coal and something that’s on its way to becoming a diamond. Like that diamond, they’ll be very valuable,” said Simon, who can be reached at 305-348-1552.