Trading rooms with flashing stock tickers and Bloomberg and Reuters terminals — similar to those of Wall Street finest investing firms — are now seen in many business schools across the nation.
University trading rooms are not only a draw for prospective students and donors, but also the professional world. The computer labs are equipped with dual-screen monitors, finance software and stock tickers. Students use the technology to build investment portfolios and to analyze real-time data, like any professional financial analyst would.
Finance students who can “hit the floor trading” are easily getting jobs at the top investment firms in the nation, said Steve Wyatt, professor of finance at the Farmer School of Business at Miami University.
“Our placement has improved dramatically since we got the trading room,” Wyatt said. “We routinely have more employers looking for our students than we can provide students. I’d estimate that nine out of 10 of juniors have an offer in their pocket after their summer internships.”
All four if the schools’ students who went to JPMorgan Chase last summer were invited to join the full-time team.
Nick Huber, a senior finance major at Miami University in Ohio, will join JPMorgan Chase in New York City soon after he graduates. Huber learned how to analyze live market data and finance modeling in his college trading room long before he interned with JP Morgan last summer.
The hype of business school trading floors started during the mid-2000s, and more and more schools have centered curriculum around live trading. Massachusetts Institute of Technology opened the first trading floor in 1996. The University of Texas, Austin soon followed.
Other top-ranked business schools such as University of Virginia, Emory, MIT, UNC, Cornell and University of Michigan in Ann Arbor tout million dollar trading rooms.
Trading rooms have become the new norm, said Roger Jenkins, dean of the Miami University Farmer School of Business.
Miami University’s 2-year-old $6 million trading room juiced up student engagement levels, he said, and more students are more interested in sales, trading and investment banking careers.
“The trading floor has enabled our finance curriculum to be on steroids,” Jenkins said.
Wyatt is glad students get excited about investing.
“I went to college before there were calculators, so we had to do it the hard way,” Wyatt said. “What took me hours to calculate, students can figure out with our technology can take a few minutes. It’s practical real-world experience.”
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