Section: News

Hidden gem: Bloomberg Terminal serves as financial tool

Hidden gem: Bloomberg Terminal serves as financial tool

by Nathaniel Shahan

Tucked away on the third floor of Ascension Hall, in a closet-sized room labeled “Faculty Storage,” sits a Bloomberg Terminal. It may appear to be just another computer, but this one is fully loaded with Bloomberg software, which allows for the analysis of financial data and, theoretically, the ability to place trades in securities markets. This terminal is equipped with a special keyboard, showing multi-colored keys denoting specific functions such as “M-MKT” and “QUOTE.”

Created by Bloomberg L.P., a subscription to a Bloomberg Terminal creates access to an immense database of financial data, news sources, pricing for securities and just about any piece of information on a financial market anyone could want or need, plus the facilitation of trade placement in securities markets. Knowing how to operate a terminal is a must in the world of finance.

Mike Weaver ’96, global head of securities lending and finance at the financial services firm BlackRock, will be giving a demonstration on the Bloomberg Terminal in association with the Career Development Office’s  [CDO] finance panel today at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Foundation Theater in the Gund Gallery.

The idea of a Kenyon-owned Bloomberg Terminal began with Professor of Economics Will Melick. Shortly after coming to Kenyon in 1998, Melick discovered that the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Bloomberg News was College Trustee Matthew Winkler ’77. Aside from a few suggestions to Kenyon’s then-president Robert Oden, nothing came of Melick’s interest until 2006 when he met Winkler while serving as a faculty advisoron a trustee sub-committee relating to technology at Kenyon. Winkler secured a Bloomberg Terminal for Kenyon within 30 days, free of charge. The subscription usually amounts to $24,000 a year.

Unfortunately, aside from occasional use by students researching projects, the investment club and economics professors gathering examples for class, the terminal has gone largely unused. 

College endowment managers used the terminal in Ascension but they were soon given their own, located in Eaton Center. Melick said he “was hopeful [the terminal] would be widely used” when it arrived, but he acknowledged that he has not done much to promote the machine. 

Additionally, Melick recognizes the difficulty in using the machine for classes. It is not easy to transport and the location makes demonstrations difficult, limiting the number of people who know how to use the device. However, tutorials are available online and on the terminal itself. 

Melick hopes that the machine will one day be housed in a better location, preferably a computer lab. He believes the terminal could be used by students interested in environmental or international studies for tracking data related to subjects such as carbon emissions or the debts of certain governments. 

However, the learning curve is steep and the availability of financial data on the Internet has somewhat replaced the need for terminal, especially in terms of simple data collection. It is, in Melick’s words, “a practitioner’s tool” meant for financial professionals, not students. 

But Melick also said that “if you are willing to ask a few questions and poke around, you’re usually able to get the answers you’re after.” And for any students interested in finance, learning the terminal is a must. In an email, Director of Investments Stephen Archer, who serves as Kenyon’s Bloomberg representative, thanked Winkler and said he hopes “the students’ access to such a calculable tool is helpful in furthering their finance and investments education.”


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