In addition to core educational resources-comprehensive courses, knowledgeable and experienced faculty, applied knowledge experiences-the College of Business provides students with outstanding opportunities to enhance their educational experience. One example is the availability of a Bloomberg terminal and comprehensive training programs that prepare students to use this high-profile financial tool.
Bloomberg is a premier financial database used by many professionals in the world of finance. An information-rich system, Bloomberg gives users real-time stock prices, foreign exchange rates, commodity trading information, and details about any publicly traded entity. Illinois is one of the few institutions of higher education to offer access to the system and specific training to its students.
Shelley Campbell, director of the MSF program, says that access to Bloomberg and the training programs is a significant enhancement to the MSF program. “We’re lucky to have it. If someone is willing to put in the time it takes to complete the certifications, that student graduates with an excellent credential.”
Campbell explains that usually someone becomes Bloomberg certified as part of his or her on-the-job training. Having an employee who is already certified provides an advantage to the employer and can also make the prospective employee a better candidate among similarly qualified competition. Campbell says that the certification program is available to all students in the College. “In addition to MSF students, anyone studying finance-related subjects may be interested in this opportunity-undergraduates in finance, MBA students in the second-year finance track, or accountancy majors.” Campbell says that more faculty are starting to include Bloomberg research in their courses. “Certification is valuable to students now and after they graduate.”
A Bloomberg terminal is housed in the Business and Economics Library, across the street from College of Business buildings. Three certification tracks available: Equities, Fixed Incomes, and Foreign Exchanges. Students can choose to do any or all of the available certifications. The process takes a significant time commitment particularly if a student chooses to pursue all three certifications.
Carissa Holler, business and finance information librarian and associate professor of library administration, has completed all of the available certificates and works with students seeking certification. She has conducted surveys of MSF students to assess interest, done a minimum time requirement study, and has produced informational materials to help students understand the commitment required to become certified. While students have been slow to start their certification tracks, Holler found that demand was present in the MSF program. “While only ten have started the process, about forty MSF students expressed an interest in becoming certified,” Holler said.
One such student is Chul Soo Chun, a graduate student in the MSF program. He has been diligently working on becoming certified and has found it to be an enjoyable and valuable experience. Chun feels that it will improve his financial knowledge and keep him in contact with the current business world. Yet it has not been an easy process. “It’s quite a long program and very time consuming. But it’s definitely worth it,” he says.
Campbell anticipates that more and more students become interest in becoming certified. “As more alumni come back and talk about how useful knowledge of the Bloomberg system can be, students will start to recognize its value.”