High-end financial analysis lab comes to IWU

Illinois Wesleyan University has unveiled a new Bloomberg Finance Lab. It is a computer financial analysis system students will use. Accounting Department Chair Robert Irons said he hopes real world experience will help students after they graduate.

“They’re going to be able to put on their resume that they have experience pulling data and Bloomberg, pulling out analysis, as well as presenting their analysis to a board consisting of other investment managers,” said Irons.

It’s not just a student program with training wheels. Irons says leading business investment and finance professionals use the suite of software tools all the time.

Several IWU graduates donated money for the lab. Irons said it will be particularly useful for students in the portfolio management class because they’ll manage $4.5 million in real investments. And their decisions have consequences for the returns on those investments — real skin in the game.

“They will have access not only to all the data that is available on Bloomberg, which in and of itself you can build a career on, but all of the analysis that they offer as well,” said Irons.

Illinois Wesleyan alum Greg Yess ’82 donated a lot of the money for the project now named for him.

“The world of finance has grown dramatically over the past two decades,” said Yess. “It is a part of everything we think, see and do. Illinois Wesleyan has a great reputation in all aspects of higher learning, and I wanted to make sure its students have access to the best financial tools available. I believe the Bloomberg Finance Lab will help provide those tools and be a real game-changer for their future careers.”

Irons said the lab will be good for the Bloomington-Normal community too.

“Internship opportunities and job opportunities for our graduates, so if nothing else, it will bring more students to the campus and that’s always going to be good for the local community,” said Irons.

There are 12 licensed terminals and two live stock tickers. But it’s also more than just a financial tool. The lab will be multidisciplinary and not just for finance and business students. For instance, Irons said nursing majors can use the lab to explore pharmaceutical industry information.

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