Corporate Partnership Brings Wealth of Information

From up-to-the-moment market valuations to instant access to bond prices, the wildest dreams of '80s Wall Street are precious realities for the brokers, traders, and fund managers of today.

Through Web technology and a complex information network, the latest-breaking market data can now be used to revalue financial portfolios on a minute-by-minute basis. Cutting-edge information power is the working capital of BRIDGE Information Systems. Based in New York, BRIDGE has grown to become the largest information company in the United States, and the second-largest in the world, offering financial information and news products, trading and transaction services, and network services. Information products include a wide range of workstations, Web-based applications, and digital data feeds, offering comprehensive market data, in-depth news, and powerful analytic tools. The company makes available complete global financial information on over 2 million securities, delivered direct from more than 200 exchanges, 2,500 contributing sources, and 450 news and research sources.
Last winter, the MBA Finance Club gave a heads-up to Commerce faculty members about the BRIDGE University Program, through which the company contributes its services to a select group of universities, now around fifty in number. Jenny France, an assistant professor of finance, sent the company an application explaining how the program would be used in the classroom at CBA. Thanks to this initiative, the college has acquired forty BRIDGE licenses, as well as two Pentium servers and a 256-K circuit. Commerce pays $300 per month for the service, which is valued at $34,700 per month, or $416,400 annually. Thus the current value of BRIDGE's contribution to the college stands at around $412,800 per year.

Thanks to two technological marvels — BRIDGE data and laptop computers — faculty can access up-to-the-moment information for their classes.
"BRIDGE Information Systems is delighted to partner with the University of Illinois," said Mark Minister, executive vice president of BRIDGE. "The BRIDGE University Program was designed to satisfy the diverse needs of distinguished business colleges throughout the United States by connecting them to the industry's most comprehensive financial market data, news and analytics. BRIDGE is proud to pioneer this program with the University of IIlinois and provide its students with the tools to train and prepare them for professional careers within the finance industry."

The program is available to students in the college's computer lab and can also be installed on faculty office computers, as well as laptops used by professors in class. Though instantly updated, information is subject to a twenty-minute time delay, required by law to mitigate online trading competition. "This is not an educational tool," noted Elisabeth Oltheten, an assistant professor of finance and one of a number of faculty members who have incorporated BRIDGE into their teaching. "It has been developed for traders and investment managers, and other professionals in finance." Since these are the professions to which many CBA students aspire, BRIDGE has become an integral part of the keystone course required of all undergraduate finance majors, who are expected to graduate "BRIDGE-literate." "It's useful for all levels of students because it's a professional-level tool. If anything it's even more useful at the graduate level than the undergraduate," noted France. "There are many places to get information about U.S. stocks, though BRIDGE information is far more complete and timely than other sources. But it's very hard to find out about bonds, or foreign stocks and bonds, or more exotic instruments like swaps. BRIDGE has unbelievably broad and complete coverage," concluded France.

Oltheten, who has also developed an online trading simulation called UISES (now licensed by the university) and who recently did a stock-trading simulation with several of her students for a class at a Champaign high school, observed: "Having this kind of information at our fingertips is totally wonderful. I used to spend two or three days putting together a list of callable bonds for my students. On BRIDGE it now takes me fifteen minutes. Students used to do projects using library records it could take days to compile the data. Now that we have BRIDGE, they can focus on analyzing the data rather than researching it. And the students love it. They get addicted. Of course they don't realize how lucky they are."


The Commerce Office of Development is pleased to announce the launch of a new series of events, aimed at bringing alumni together to discuss topics of interest in the university and business communities.


  • Wednesday, February 16
    11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 23
    11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    Accounting: 150-hour rule
  •  Tuesday, August 15
    7:30-9:30 a.m.
    To be announced
  • Wednesday, November 15
    11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    To be announced

Sessions will be held in the Illini Center, 200 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago. For more information, please contact the CBA Development office at 217-333-6434, or