Workplace Gold Standard Tool Added to Classroom


The College’s new Bloomberg Terminal gives students an industry edge in managing and investing a $1.6 million fund.

A student uses the new Bloomberg Terminal during class as Professor Richard Bookbinder looks on.

A student uses the new Bloomberg Terminal during class as Professor Richard Bookbinder looks on.At 8 a.m. on the dot, the Brown Advisory Program class starts. Students, dressed in business attire, listen to the opening remarks by Richard Bookbinder, a professor, distinguished executive in residence, and advisor to the College’s Brown Advisory Investment Fund. Bookbinder mentions a Florida-based house builder the class had discussed investing in last academic year. He asks a student to pull the information up on the newly purchased Bloomberg Terminal. The screen fills with numbers and graphs.

This is not just a theoretical discussion. These students are responsible for managing and investing a real fund valued at $1.6 million and part of the College’s endowment. According to Bookbinder, the decisions they make rely on the quality of the data they use to make the decisions, which have real-life consequences. 

He explains that the last time they discussed this house builder, they didn’t have a Bloomberg Terminal. The students interested in investing in the builder had to research and compile information from multiple sources. “With the terminal, within a nanosecond, we have all the information right here,” Bookbinder said.  

The beauty of the system is not just the speed with which it delivers the data but the quality and quantity of the information. According to Bookbinder, Bloomberg has thousands of analysts and journalists compiling and interpreting the data around the clock, and that’s why access to this has become the industry’s gold standard. He says using the terminal gives Washington College students hands-on experience with a tool most large financial industry companies use. When these students apply for jobs or internships, they will have the advantage of theoretical knowledge of the financial world and real-life experience of using this tool to invest funds.  

Caddie Putnam Rankin, the chair of the business management department, agrees and says that an obvious benefit would be for finance students looking to begin their careers in mutual funds or investment firms, “All of those companies are using Bloomberg, so our students will have a leg up and already know what they're doing.” 

Putnam Rankin adds that the terminal has many more applications and benefits and will be incorporated into finance, business, marketing, and accounting curricula. Because a Bloomberg license is expensive, the department purchased a single terminal. If it proves successful, and the early indications are that it will, the department may purchase more terminals and assign a dedicated classroom with 12 terminals to give students greater access. 

Bookbinder adds that the data you can access from a terminal has cross-discipline uses. He says that if you are doing scientific, medical, or social research, Bloomberg has vast databases of curated information in these areas. He would like to see students across campus using the terminal to do research for their senior capstone projects. He doesn’t want to sound like a paid spokesperson for Bloomberg, but he believes the system has given the College’s students a powerful tool and an employment advantage.