High-End Financial Analytics Lab Comes to IWU

Illinois Wesleyan University has unveiled a new Bloomberg Finance Lab. This is a financial analysis computer system that students will use. Accounting Department Chairman Robert Irons said he hopes the real-world experience will help students after graduation.

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

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

Several IWU graduates have donated money for the lab. Irons said it will be especially helpful for students in the portfolio management class, as they will be managing $4.5 million in actual investments. And their decisions have consequences for the returns on those investments – real skin in the game.

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

Illinois Wesleyan alum Greg Yess ’82 donated much of the money for the project that now bears his name.

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

Irons said the lab would also be good for the Bloomington-Normal community.

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

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

Sarah J. Greer