In winter term of 2021/22, Coburg University of Applied Sciences opened an intercultural meeting place for the international master degree programs AIMS and Financial Management. It also hosts the new Bloomberg laboratory: here, students can gain hands-on experience in the world of finance and markets.
"The risk profile of a company like Microsoft is very low", points Melkamu Taye to the orange graph on one of the two 86-inch monitors on the wall. There are several ways to reach that conclusion. He uses the example to demonstrate how the financial market can be mathematically analyzed with the help of real-time data. "We are comparing live data on Microsoft stock returns with the S&P 500. It is one of the most common stock indexes in the world." And the return for the stock and the index is just about a factor of 1. "This is a large company whose shares are included in the index. It would be different for a company that is not on the financial market," explains Melkamu. In this way, students learn to compare the relationship between risk and return. As a tutor in the international Master's program in Financial Management, Taye uses the Bloomberg Laboratory which was set up in the winter semester with the International Common Room (ICR).
The real financial world in the lecture room
Bloomberg offers MBA students real-time courses, depicts the stock's fundamental data, charts, financial analysis tools, and statistics. MBA program director Prof. Dr. Victor Randall, looking at the Bloomberg terminal, explains: "We can pull up the data from global commodity and foreign exchange markets, as well as from fixed income and equity markets, and offer our students access to the same information platform that decision-makers from finance, industry, and politics work with – also, in real-time. Four core modules of the MBA program benefit directly." According to Prof. Dr. Randall, only five universities in Bavaria use such a Bloomberg Terminal for instruction; Coburg is the first university of applied sciences to give its students practical experience in data analysis, from which students working on their theses and doing their research can also profit. "By providing regular Bloomberg courses, we want to give our students a head start when they are on the real job market," outlines Prof. Dr. Randall - "graduates with Bloomberg experience are in high demand". "Anyone who studies finance should be familiar with market data research," also explains tutor Melkamu Taye. Melkamu is conducting his doctorate with Prof. Dr. Randall at the University of Coburg and Prof. Dr. Kähler at the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg on agricultural commodity markets in Africa. He speaks about the financial markets in English – the language in which both Financial Management and the second international course – AIMS – are taught.
Perfect for the conference with Shanghai
AIMS - stands for Analytical Instruments, Measurement and Sensor Technology - is located at the Departement of Applied Natural Sciences and, despite the very different content, has a lot in common with Financial Management. "We help each other and constantly cooperate to become an even more appealing course for our international students," says course director Prof. Dr. Michael Wick. "It is great that we now have an international common room here for them." In addition to the two large touch monitors on the wall, each of which has its own connected computer, the room was equipped in such a way that it meets the most modern multimedia requirements. The camera and microphones in the ceiling allow moving freely in the room during video conferences. "This is very practical for our meetings with international partners." In this way, several professors can conveniently take part in admission interviews at partner universities in Shanghai, China, for example.
Prof. Dr. Wick explains that the relaxed environment is also popular for student presentations. "You can work well on projects in small groups here." High tables and matching chairs but also a comfortable sofa give the room a special ambience. Susanna Buchwald adapted the design of the room for various purposes. She painted a skyline on one wall. Prof. Dr. Wick and Prof. Dr. Randall find these details very important. "The small accessories made the environment here really great - a good co-working atmosphere. You can exchange interdisciplinary ideas or just have a coffee," says Prof. Dr. Wick. And then have a discussion with Melkamu Taye about the developments of the financial markets.
The Master's office FM provides information on the use of the Bloomberg terminal and training courses.