As you start planning a finance lab for your school, one of the first things you may investigate is live market data. Your search will likely lead you to Bloomberg, the brand name for business news, data, and analysis. After a couple of calls, you will realize they have an amazing tool. So how many Bloomberg terminals should you get? Even with their generous university discounts, you are still looking at a hefty six figures per year to outfit your entire classroom.
Finance Labs Are More Affordable Than You Think
Don’t let this discourage you from proceeding with a finance lab because you assume one of these specialized classrooms is out of your price range. The majority of these rooms are funded by generous donors, and the key to success is to continually leverage the room to raise more funds. Just shift the order in which you do things. Instead of getting Bloomberg first, start by building out your “showpiece” and making it functional.
How to Get Donors to Fund Your Finance Lab
The below examples, using identical budgets, show why it may be in your best interest to wait until phase II to add Bloomberg terminals:
School A has $100,000 to spend on a 24-position finance lab, so they take advantage of the Bloomberg Education program where if you purchase three terminals for about $75,000 per year you get nine more for a total of 12, so they can outfit half of the classroom. This uses a lion’s share of the budget leaving only a small amount to put in a flat-screen TV and some other basics to convert a computer lab into a “trading room“. As School A tries to secure more funds, they don’t have much to show other than a dozen computer monitors with some very sophisticated tools, so securing additional funding is tricky.
School B has the same $100,000 but they choose to buy an interactive marketwall ($20,000), LED Ticker ($20,000), a world clock ($3,500) and specialized simulation software such as Rotman Interactive Trader ($9,500), unlimited access to Morningstar ($12,000), and a virtual trading game from Stock Trak ($12,000). This also adds up to $100,000, but now they have a visual presence and three different software tools that can run on every computer in the 24-position room. When School B brings a potential donor by and shows them the activity on the digital displays, they can show them all of the things they can do in the room. When they ask for funding to go purchase those same Bloomberg terminals to further enhance the educational value of the space, they have a much better chance of success.
Both approaches use the same budget initially, but School B takes a different path to reach the end goal of having a state-of-the-art and truly functional room for the students to enjoy for many years to come.
So how many Bloomberg terminals should you get? It depends on how well you do fundraising and what type of investment your donors will make. Wow them with phase I, and you may end up with more than you originally anticipated.