The opening bell for RIT’s new Business Analytics Lab is ringing loud and clear in Lowenthal Hall.
The 40-year-old building, home to Saunders College of Business, is getting an aesthetics “bling” that will be much more than window dressing.
The 800-square-foot newly renovated space to the right of the entry will have the look of Wall Street—complete with an electronic ticker streaming market data, 12 Bloomberg workstations, four mounted flat screen TVs, wireless connections, and information services and research tools to allow students to experience the look and feel of a trading floor environment.
Students can use the technology to build investment portfolios and analyze the fluidity of stock prices on Dow Jones or Nasdaq, just like any professional financial analyst would. But the lab has a much broader scope and mission, according to Saunders College Dean Jacqueline Mozrall.
“We wanted our facilities to be consistent with who we are and what we do as we position ourselves at the intersection of business and technology,” Mozrall said. “We have established a competitive edge with our computational finance and management information systems programs that require analytics courses in the curriculum. But we also anticipate RIT students from all majors using this lab for some real-world experience—where they can access data, analyze data, and utilize data to drive decision making.”
Mozrall credits Bergmann Associates for coming up with the conceptual design for the project and how the space could be utilized. The challenge was to integrate the 2006 renovations by Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood Architects while being sensitive to the original architecture of the building designed by Robert Macon of Macon/Chantreuil Architects in 1975.
That became the chief responsibility for Tori Budgeon-Baker, RIT project architect and space management coordinator. “We wanted to enhance the original design—and not subtract from it, but support it,” she said. “Dean Mozrall’s idea was to turn a gathering space into a technologically-advanced facility that could accommodate faculty-led workshops, clubs, capstone projects, study groups and all students.”
Dave Ballard, director of technical services at Saunders College, said the LED scrolling stock ticker, 14 feet in diameter, is a continuous data feed licensed from Bloomberg Professional service that will include real-time (with a 20-minute delay) analytics and news on a number of markets and securities. “The delay actually gives students time to analyze their own data while stocks are being traded on markets worldwide,” he explained. “The ticker will obviously be the centerpiece of the room; it will create excitement, lend an air of realism and help convey the message that Saunders’ new Business Analytics Lab is on the cutting edge of technology and research education.”
Adjacent to the double-door glass entrance will be a new touch screen directory of Lowenthal Hall and a swipe access entry for students to use the lab.
“This is going to change the space and bring it to life,” said Budgeon-Baker. “It will be a jewel piece for Saunders College and build on the credibility that it deserves.
“And that’s something a business school can trade on.”