Wall Street comes to campus with new financial training center

Topic: Miller College of Business

August 17, 2010

Business students will get a taste of the frenzied environment of the nation's stock markets when Ball State University opens the A. Umit Taftali Center for Capital Markets and Investing at the start of fall semester.

Part of the Miller College of Business (MCOB), the technology-centered classroom/laboratory inside the Whitinger Business Building will allow students to be immersed in a real-world financial environment, providing opportunities for hands-on training in the workings of financial markets, financial modeling and valuation.

The 1,300-square-foot facility is named for a Ball State alumnus and former international banker. It features the latest technology including computer stations, large-screen televisions that will monitor business news networks and ticker tape electronic message boards. The lab will allow students to gain familiarity with relevant trading applications and functionality.

The Taftali Center promises to become a major hub in the college, creating an electric atmosphere that closely simulates Wall Street, said Miller College Dean Rajib Sanyal

"The center will provide students a level of learning experience in finance and investment that is second to none," Sanyal said. "It will further enhance the ability of Ball State graduates to compete successfully for the best jobs with the country's most prestigious financial services firms."

Bloomberg credentials

In addition to simulating a real-world environment, students will be able to work toward Bloomberg Certified credentials, a highly valued asset for finance professionals, said Srinivasan Sundaram, chair of the Department of Finance and Insurance.

Bloomberg is a global leader in providing financial information and about publicly traded companies. The center's computer stations are capable of accessing the Bloomberg Professional news feed, providing access to analytics, communications, charts, liquidity data, functionalities and execution services. Students will gain experience in the same technologies used nationwide by financial institutions in implementing financial strategies and further develop the skills and confidence necessary for career success, added Sundaram.

"As a result of incorporating Bloomberg's platform, students will be able make the same analyses as those professionals working in the world's financial markets," he said.

Inspired graduate gives back

The center is named in recognition of Taftali's contributions and service to the university, including the lead gift for the cutting-edge facility. Taftali, who graduated from Ball State in 1985 with a degree in finance, is also a member of the national committee for Ball State Bold, the university's current capital campaign with a goal of $200 million.

He is currently managing the Suna Koc-Kirac family office in his native Turkey after a career in international banking that spanned two decades.

He is scheduled to participate in the center's dedication on Nov. 18.

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