Faculty of Management students at the University of Lethbridge’s Calgary campus at Bow Valley College now have access to the latest in hands-on training technology with the opening of the Calgary Campus Centre for Financial Market Research and Teaching (CFMRT).
The Centre is a state-of-the-art facility, complete with a 42-foot, full-colour LED stock ticker, that focuses on the integration of theory and research with practice. Research databases, trading simulation software, and access to global financial resources allow students to link classroom lessons to real-life securities and markets.
“Our programming is geared toward working professionals looking to earn the skills and credentials needed to advance their careers,” says Lynda Thai-Baird, manager of the CFMRT on the U of L’s Lethbridge campus. “Our focus is to meet the needs of our Calgary campus student population by providing these students the same level of accessibility, and creating a seamless learning experience, on both campuses.”
The Centre, created in collaboration with Bow Valley College, is designed to provide a focal point for research and training in a range of financial disciplines, including investment strategy and portfolio management, financial engineering and risk management, trading and analysis of the microstructure of markets.
In 2010, the U of L’s Lethbridge campus opened the first CFMRT and it has proven to be a big draw for students, giving them the opportunity to participate in real-time exercises under actual market conditions. The Faculty of Management introduced the Student-Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) in 2011, providing $100,000 of real money to be invested under the direction of CFMRT advisors but traded by students enrolled in the specific SMIF course.
“The trading room helps the learning experience by taking the theories we have learned in class and showing how these theories are used by financial professionals on a day-to-day basis using the same software they utilize,” says Tanner Johnson, a fifth-year finance and accounting major and president of the Finance Club. “SMIF takes this further by providing the rare opportunity to learn about the challenges of managing real money while still working within a learning environment.”
Faculty of Management Dean Dr. Bob Boudreau says it was important for the U of L to provide this level of technology for its Calgary students, who are mostly employed mature students looking to enhance their financial literacy and further their careers.
“Opening this space in Calgary furthers the U of L’s mandate as an innovator in new curriculum, business initiatives and software development, which all contribute to enhancing the global competitiveness of our students,” says Boudreau. “This is a big day for us as a Faculty and even bigger for both U of L and Bow Valley College students.”
In addition to the real-time stock ticker, CFMRT also features 40 computer terminals with ultra-wide monitors, two high-end web cameras and a custom-designed digital financial data wall consisting of four, 65-inch LCD displays.
“The CFMRT in Lethbridge quickly established itself as a must-see facility for faculty, students, industry leaders and visitors to campus,” says Dr. Mike Mahon, U of L President and Vice-Chancellor. “It is truly leading-edge technology and allows our students to get instant feedback on their theoretical studies as they participate in hands-on, real-time market activities. This experience is invaluable to them once they graduate.”
In addition to the academic activities taking place in CFMRT, the room in Lethbridge has been used as a site for industry nights, high school trading competitions, university finance competitions, investment clubs and tours, all of which are now possible at the U of L’s Calgary campus at Bow Valley College.