The James Parke Technology Center, which opened in spring 2017 thanks to donations from Jim Parke ’68, features new computers and a running stock ticker. The new lab provides students the opportunity to get real-world experience and exposure to the world of stock trading and evaluation.
“Other than the lab being a very impressive and comfortable classroom, its main benefit is to make it really easy to bridge the theoretical concepts we cover in class and how they are applied in the real world,” said assistant professor of finance Angel Carrete Rodriguez. “With the lab, it is very easy to explain a concept and then let students practice it in an environment that is either the real world or really close to it.”
Finance students have access to a program called StockTrak, an application that lets them invest fake money into nearly any exchange around the globe. Beyond that, students can invest in options, futures, mutual funds and bonds.
“In short, StockTrak allows students to learn how to invest in the real world without the risk of using real money,” Carrete said.
Another interesting application, the Rotman Interactive Trader allows students to trade in securities in a simulated market environment. Each case focuses on the opportunities, as well as the risks, associated with particular market strategies or securities. Students are able to compete with each other, applying certain strategies to manage a portfolio risk and seeing who can most accurately price and trade securities.
Concordia finance students also have the opportunity to manage the Scheel Investment Fund, which is a student-run fund portfolio that is currently valued at around $130,000. The students rely heavily on the lab and its components to choose which stocks to trade and which to ignore.
For a prospective student looking to enter a career in finance, Concordia’s new finance lab is a great place to start. Carrete notes that in addition to the lab, the program offers other components that make it a great choice to study finance at Concordia.
“We put a great emphasis on sound theory and its practical application,” he said. “We give our students the necessary practice and tools they need to master the field of finance. In addition to the finance lab, we have two international trips every year where we take students to meet with executives from world-class companies. I believe that studying finance is now more fun, engaging and practical because of the finance lab.”