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Students gain real-world experience with Bloomberg and FactSet

| Gretchen Hutterli

Thanks to a generous gift from the Presto Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire business students have access to Bloomberg and FactSet, two leading business information and financial data platforms used by professionals around the world.

“These resources have added yet another dimension in preparing our finance and other business students to excel in the world of business,” said Mark Alfuth, senior lecturer in the Department of Accounting and Finance. “Already we have seen tremendous impact. The number and types of internship and full-time employment opportunities available to our students continues to increase because they have firsthand experience with these systems.”

Bloomberg opens doors for students

The Bloomberg terminal is the most widely used professional investment system in the financial marketplace. The system, which requires a specific terminal with a unique keyboard, gives the user accurate and real-time access to news and research on stocks, bonds, commodities and global markets, and it provides powerful tools to analyze this data.

“Access to the Bloomberg terminal opened the doors to resources all around the world,” said Dier Pulatov, a senior finance student. “Functions and data gathered in the terminal made me think differently and look at businesses from a different angle that was not available before.”

Alex Miller, a 2017 UW-Eau Claire alumnus who is a financial analyst for IBM, agreed.

“As a student, you spend four years learning what financial and accounting ratios and terminology mean in a book, but when you use the Bloomberg terminal you get to see how all of that applies in the real world,” said Miller. “I’ll never forget the many hours I spent in the terminal room researching stocks and trying to find that one catalyst that sets it apart from its competitors.”

Because Bloomberg is expensive, UW-Eau Claire has only two terminals. Access is currently limited to students enrolled in the senior finance capstone courses, and those participating in the accounting and finance department’s Student Investment Managed Fund and the annual CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) competition. The Department of Accounting and Finance hopes to secure funds to purchase an additional terminal in the future as the current ones are in constant use during the school week and throughout the weekend.

“In my past two interviews for investment-related positions, hiring managers almost expected me to know how to utilize Bloomberg,“ said Pulatov. “I think we are extremely lucky to have access to the terminal.”

FactSet offers another financial data solution

New to UW-Eau Claire students is FactSet, a data platform that also provides financial and economic information and analytical applications to users. Unlike Bloomberg, FactSet is less expensive, has a simpler user interface and can be accessed via a personal computer. UW-Eau Claire students can access FactSet via their own computers when enrolled in a specific business course, or through a portal found on the McIntyre Library site.

“Because any number of users can use FactSet at a given time, it is ideal for in-class assignments and class projects,” Alfuth said.

He will introduce the new data platform to students in his fall finance courses. He also believes FactSet will be useful to students working on projects in disciplines besides finance, such as marketing and management.

While FactSet has many advantages, Bloomberg is considered the industry norm with more than three times the number of users as FactSet and some unique applications.

“FactSet and Bloomberg have advantages that are unique to them — one can’t replace the other,” Alfuth said. “We are very fortunate to give our business students exposure to both data systems.”