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Baker Exchange Brings Wall Street to HBS
HBS may be 200 miles north of New York City, but faculty and students are using the new Baker Exchange to hook into improved business research resources and real-time company earnings announcements as if they were on Wall Street.
The Exchange, which sits in Baker's south entrance hall, includes eight flat panel displays that continuously pump out the latest business news from CNN, Bloomberg, and other sources; newspapers from around the world; and eight dedicated computers with access to databases including Bloomberg and S&P Ratings Direct. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Thomson StreetEvents is accessible via both computers and display screens (StreetEvents provides video, audio, and transcripts of company merger announcements and annual and quarterly earnings presentations to analysts, some dating back five years.
Rich Thomas (HBS MBA 2006) makes the Exchange a routine part of his HBS daily life. In addition to morning and afternoon visits to catch up on news, Thomas uses the Exchange to research case studies and other projects.
"I was able to get the short interest information on overstock.com stock from Bloomberg and get the last earnings call from StreetEvents, so I could see what the analysts are interested in learning about," he said. "While researching Salomon Brothers, I was able to look into the historical information on its acquisition, and research Warren Buffett's acquisition into the company. For another class, I used Bloomberg to find prices of bonds and options of a company as it approached and emerged from a restructuring."
The Exchange collects many valuable resources in one place, he said, providing one-stop shopping for researchers. "You have current events on the T.V. and if you see something interesting, you can look into it on Bloomberg or Factiva. If you are doing research for a class, you have StreetEvents and Bloomberg as well as other products."
Finance professor Luis Viceira is the first faculty member to incorporate the Baker Exchange into his course platform. For his Investment Management course, Viceira worked with business librarian Ann Cullen, who manages the Baker Exchange, to offer students the option of hands-on training for using Bloomberg terminals. "Bloomberg is essential for any money manager," says Viceira, "but it's not easy to use." Cullen also created supporting materials that Viceira added to the Course Platform.
The relationship between the teaching side of the school and the research resources at Baker "has been a fantastic partnership," Viceira said. "I hope people learn that they can leverage more resources for their teaching."
He plans on using the Exchange more in the future, Viceira added. "This was a trial period, and it worked quite well. Hopefully we will hear from the students on how we can improve."