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finance lab

Investing in the Future

Sitting at a computer terminal with the bright lights of stock tickers filling the room, Samantha Keleher creates a comprehensive analysis of a multi-billion-dollar company. She reviews it to determine if and how she should invest in it.

Keleher, a senior finance major, both looks and acts the part of professional trader thanks to the new Finance Lab in Widener’s School of Business Administration. While the lab looks and feels more like a professional space than a classroom, it’s the software on the computers that really sets students up for a real-world learning experience.

Every computer is equipped with the Bloomberg Professional service, a platform delivering real-time data, news and analytics relevant for financial service professionals. Using the Bloomberg data, students can experience the speed of the financial market and gain a deep understanding of market concepts by working through simulation activities in class.

“This is comprehensive portfolio management software; it’s what the professionals in the wealth management industry use,” said Dr. Babatunde O. Odusami, associate professor of finance.

While Keleher uses the Finance Lab for most of her courses, she finds herself accessing the space and the Bloomberg data most often to make real-time, real-life investment decisions. As vice president of the Widener Money Club and Student Investment Fund, Keleher manages real money.

The fund, which began with a donation to the School of Business Administration, was bolstered in 2015 with a $500,000 allocation by the Widener University Board of Trustees.

Odusami, who serves as faculty adviser for the Money Club, says that the real-world experience students get through the Money Club coupled with the training they will now get on the Bloomberg software will make Widener students highly attractive to employers.

Marc S. Liciardello, vice president of corporate services for Aramark and chair of the Widener University Business Advisory Board, agrees. “This Finance Lab experience delivers the world of finance and trading to the fingertips of our students, putting their education into action and increasing their marketability when seeking employment or, more likely, when sought out by employers.”

Business students in all majors have access to the Finance Lab to complete an 8-hour Bloomberg Market Concepts course, which School of Business Administration Dean Jayati Ghosh hopes each student takes advantage of. She says that it will not only strengthen a resume, but help students “hit the ground running” when they enter the workforce.

Keleher doesn’t have to worry about her resume for the time being. She has already secured a job with the FDIC. “The agency is interested in Widener students because of the level of job preparation we get through the Money Club and now our Finance Lab.”