Private support will move Trading Room from a priority to a reality
The high-tech lab will elevate the learning experience at WSU’s W. Frank Barton School of Business
Image provided by GLMV
This rendering of the Trading Room and Research Lab features computers at every work station, a ticker tape with stock and financial information scrolling overhead and flat-screen monitors on the walls carrying financial news from around the world.
Wichita State is on the brink of joining a growing list of universities around the country that use simulated trading rooms to help deliver a world-class education to their business school students, particularly those majoring in finance.
If efforts to raise private funds go as hoped, the Trading Room and Research Lab in Clinton Hall, home of the W. Frank Barton School of Business, will open next year in a glass-enclosed room on the building’s main floor, just a few feet from the entrance.
Rick LeCompte, chair of the Department of Finance, Real Estate and Decision Sciences in the Barton School of Business, stands near the main-floor classroom that will be renovated, once private funds are secured, to house the Trading Room and Research Lab.
“Wichita State has long been a school that emphasizes experiential learning,” said Douglas Hensler, dean of the Barton School of Business. “This is another very substantial piece of experiential learning for our students, in a high-tech, real-time environment that will be a showplace in our building. It will be immediately recognized as a trading lab space when people walk through the entrance, a real attention-getter.”
GLMV Architecture in Wichita has been hired to design the 800-square-foot space, vendors are being solicited to provide round-the-clock financial and market data and fundraising is under way to identify donors who want to be a part of the project. The initial price-tag is about $600,000, but additional funds will be raised to create an endowment for long-term sustainability.
Though seed money has been provided by the university, private support is needed for construction, equipment and software. Naming rights to various components of the Trading Room and Research Lab will be offered to individuals and companies supporting it.
Current plans call for a classroom with these features and leading-edge technology:
- 30 work stations equipped with personal computers supplying real-time comprehensive financial data
- Two full-color LED tickers carrying stock and price information from multiple markets
- Digital display panels with breaking news and financial information from contract providers such as Morningstar
- Wall-mounted, flat-screen LED displays with news and financial feeds from cable television sources
- A four-zone world clock display
- A variety of software to simulate trading, portfolio management, risk management and other finance-related models
- Audio-visual equipment for instruction
- Video conferencing capability to connect globally with faculty, students, alumni, subject experts, trading floor representatives and corporate partners
In this real-world environment, students will analyze the latest stock prices, compare currency exchange rates, study company fundamentals and conduct sophisticated research, just as any Wall Street financier might. They will learn how to use technical trading tools, how to forecast interest rate movements, and the fundamentals of bond pricing and derivative securities.
Image provided by GLMV
Hallway view of Trading Room and Research Lab.
“This is an opportunity for our students and our constituents to interact with the financial markets,” said Rick LeCompte, chair of the Department of Finance, Real Estate and Decision Sciences in the Barton School of Business. “It is a way to make our students more competitive and to make our school more competitive in attracting students. It raises the profile of our finance program and business school to the level of the elite schools that have similar types of operations already in place.”
Living in an information-intensive world means that students also must have the best and most current news and data available, Hensler said.
“The market is all about information,” he said. “Having an information edge gives you a knowledge edge. You have to have a constant input of information, because once information is out there it is incorporated into prices very quickly.”
“This is another very substantial piece of experiential learning for our students, in a high-tech, real-time environment that will be a showplace in our building.”
- Doug Hensler, dean of the Barton School of Business
Hensler and LeCompte want the Trading Room and Research Lab to be accessible to a variety of constituents, including professionals seeking continuing education, local investment and youth groups, as well as WSU students from other academic areas.
“We envision a community learning space, a place for cross-disciplinary education, a place where — in the future — a student investment club or community organization or professional group could come to seek professional development,” LeCompte said.
Opening the trading room to businesses and professional groups in the community also gives students networking opportunities, he said, enhancing their career opportunities.
Hensler said he hopes to have the Trading Room and Research Lab up and running within a year.
“It is past time that we were able to offer this kind of experience and learning edge to our students,” he said. “For that, we are very grateful to those who are considering stepping up with the funds to make this happen. We think they will be as excited about this advancement as we are.”
If you would like to learn more about ways to support the Trading Room and Research Lab, including naming opportunities, contact Angela Dudley, WSU Foundation director of development for the W. Frank Barton School of Business, at (316) 978-3837 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.