Bloomberg terminals: the cost of opportunity
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 13:09
Of the $64,800 yearly the Cameron School of Business spends leasing Bloomberg terminals, only 25 percent comes from private business school donors, leaving about $48,600 of the cost to be funded publicly.
A Bloomberg Terminal is a computer system that generates real-time financial market data, predominantly for finance professionals. Information in equities, fixed income, foreign exchange, commodities and more is updated to the second.
Since New York’s mayor founded Bloomberg L.P. in 1981, Bloomberg Terminals have become a necessity not only to finance companies but to universities. Today, there are 300,000 terminals around the world, and UNCW possesses 12, an uncommonly large amount for a university.
Companies generally spend $2,000 monthly to lease one terminal; however, Bloomberg gave UNCW an academic discount and negotiated a contract. UNCW pays slightly less than $450 per terminal per month, according to William Sackley, associate dean of the Cameron School of Business.
“They were still very expensive, but we got somewhat of a bargain,” said Sackley. “Prospective employers are very impressed with the quality and training UNCW students have. That is why we are willing to pay as much as we do.”
Although the terminals are generally used by finance majors, all UNCW students can become Bloomberg certified, because getting an account is free. He estimates that approximately 200 students from every major have an account, and that number is steadily growing.
An estimated 25 percent of the Bloomberg expense was covered through trust funds, leaving 75 percent to public funding, according to Sackley. As a whole, the Cameron School of Business receives about $9 million annually from public funds and approximately $5 million privately. A “significant” portion of Bloomberg costs came from the International MBA student fund, Sackley said.
The IMBA fund was so generous due to the International students’ excessive use of the terminals, Sackley said. IMBA courses, four undergraduate finance classes and at least one undergraduate economics class use the terminals on a regular basis.
Senior finance major Kevin Petersen is required to use the terminals for his finance 440 course requires students to use the terminals. Although certification was mandatory, he planned on becoming acquainted with the terminals independently.
He questions the surplus of terminals at UNCW.
“Right now, it might be more than we need, but there might be a growing demand for them,” said Petersen. “As a finance student, they’re definitely a plus but I could see why students who don’t benefit from it would want the money to go elsewhere.”
Senior finance major Keith Larsen also sees the benefits of being Bloomberg certified. He appreciates the terminals’ presence on campus, as he is able to learn their functions as a student. Although any student can become Bloomberg certified, Larsen said certification is most common among finance, business, economic and accounting majors.
“Getting certified is essential to pursue a career in finance, and I think it’s a huge recruiting pitch for schools,” said Larsen.
However, Larsen agrees that having all 12 terminals isn’t necessary.
Sackley believes the terminals have been a good investment, particularly in strengthening UNCW’s relationship with Bloomberg L.P. Two summers ago, of the 25 summer interns accepted into the Bloomberg program, six students came from UNCW.
“We send interns to Bloomberg summer programs on three different continents,” said Sackley. “It has been a valuable relationship overall to get students' feet in the door for interviews.”