alperin financial center
Kania students and even drivers and pedestrians passing Brennan Hall experience the look and feel of Wall Street as tickers and monitors, glimpsed through the edifice’s gleaming glass exterior, convey the latest in world financial news and stock values. The Irwin E. Alperin Financial Center provides computer stations and software configured to facilitate sophisticated analysis and simulated real-time trading of equities and foreign currencies.
Surrounding the lab on three sides is a massive 107-foot-long Rise Vision ticker showing a constant stream of stock values fed from the New York Stock Exchange. Mounted on the lab’s walls are four 57-inch LCD screens, each displaying a mix of regional, national, and international financial news and stock quotes, along with internal messages.
With the arrival of and training in the use of a dozen Bloomberg terminals, financial analysis and portfolio management at the highest levels are now accessible to Kania School students and faculty. The exposure to the nuances of real-time and historical fluctuations in the values of a dizzying array of investment options – from stocks and bonds to currencies and derivatives – has brought the theories of investment into living color in all of their dynamic complexity. Among the seemingly endless possibilities are monitoring the performance of a portfolio throughout the day, breaking down a portfolio by industry, observing the contributions to portfolio performance of specific sectors or stocks, uploading two years of history, individually analyzing the securities that make up any asset class, generating price charts, and producing real-time reports of financial and other markets.
Ms. Jane Alperin, president of Kingston’s Jane Leslie & Co., a member of the Kania School Advisory Board and a daughter of the late Irwin E. Alperin, led a successful effort to increase to 12 the number of Bloomberg terminals in Brennan Hall, nine of which are housed in the Alperin Center. Working with Ms. Alperin in the campaign were Mr. Richard Bishop, principal at the Scranton law firm Hourrigan, Kluger & Quinn, Mr. Peter Danchak ’84, regional president of PNC Bank Scranton, Mr. Steven Hudacek, resident director and vice president at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management in Scranton, Mr. Todd O’Malley ’67 of the Scranton law firm O’Malley & Langan, and The University of Scranton Development Office.
“The excitement surrounding the Bloomberg launch in the Alperin Financial Center is part of the groundbreaking trend happening throughout various venues in the Kania School,” Ms. Alperin explains. “The magnificent Center transports our students straight to the heartbeat of the unparalleled information network funneled through the Bloomberg news dynasty. We look forward to many new events and activities associated with the Center’s expansion. The Alperin Center is the pinnacle of a dynamic education!”
To contribute to the ongoing initiative to provide students with continuing access to Bloomberg’s professional service and further enhance the educational value delivered by the Alperin Center, visit http://www.scranton.edu/givetokania.com.
Utilizing the Center’s stock-trading capabilities aggressively are University of Scranton students who participate in the annual James C. Doyle ’66 Stock Trading Competition, now in its fourth year. Created in memory of Mr. Doyle, a loyal alumnus of the University and respected financial advisor, and funded by contributions from his family and friends, the competition encourages students to understand and participate in the workings of the stock market. Using a virtual stock-exchange platform and brokerage accounts provided by Market Watch, student competitors began their trading activity in mid-October with virtual accounts valued at $100,000. On a weekly basis, they submit their account statements, listing trading dates, transactions and balances to the competition coordinator. The student with the largest balance at the close of the market on April 15 receives a cash award. 2010, 2011 and 2012 winners – Nicholas Casseli ’12, senior business-administration major Thomas Woods and Michael Tumulty ’12, respectively – achieved growth in the valuation of their portfolios (88%, 105% and 410%) that would be impressive under the most favorable of conditions – and did it in times that have humbled many an investment superstar.
Top of Page
With its sophisticated analytical capabilities, the Alperin Center has also become the favored venue for other student groups. The PRISM Group (Portfolio of Responsible Investments under Student Management), the Kania School's student investment-management organization, headed this year by senior finance majors Jonathan Hiler and Joseph Muoio and moderated by Dr. Riaz Hussain, professor in the Economics and Finance Department, manages about $260,000 of the University's endowment with the objectives of safeguarding and growing capital and learning about the market and investments process. Along with Mr. Hiler and Mr. Muoio, William Harding and William McGuiness, seniors majoring in accounting and finance, respectively, as members of the Kania School’s 2012-13 team for the CFA Institute Research Challenge, have made regular use of the Center’s resources in preparing their equity-research report for the annual regional competition. Additionally, upon returning from an internship with Bloomberg, David Lafaman, a junior majoring in business administration, founded and now serves as president of the student Bloomberg Club, which promotes fluency with the financial-information service and is aggressively facilitating Bloomberg certification among Kania students.
Among the faculty members capitalizing on the capabilities of the Alperin Center in their teaching is Dr. Satyajit Ghosh, professor in the Economics and Finance Department. “I’m using the Alperin Financial Center to simulate a real trading market where participants can buy and sell different products or assets,” he said. “It provides students with a much better understanding of how a real market in all its complexities can operate.”
"We want to develop the Alperin Financial Center to be one of the most dynamic and best equipped financial-markets laboratories in a master’s-level institution anywhere, and to be a major contributor to the Kania School’s practical-learning vision,” explained Dr. Michael O. Mensah, dean of the Kania School of Management. He predicts that the Center’s rich capabilities will lead to its increasing use in simulating markets, integrating research into curriculum, opening skill-development and certification opportunities to students, enhancing leadership training and teamwork, broadening access to timely and decision-relevant data, catalyzing the co-curricular teaching of executives and alumni, and training employees of regional organizations.
Top of Page