The Carlos M. Ayala Stock Trading Room Opens

The much anticipated opening of the College of Business Carlos M. Ayala Stock Trading Room took place in the fall of 2012. The opening reception guests included members of the CoB Visiting Committee, CoB Alumni Board, CoB Executive Mentors, and other distinguished guests from the Loyola community. A striking addition to Miller Hall, the trading room/classroom/computer lab is situated on a highly visible corner of the building showcasing the advancements in Loyola’s finance program.

Made possible by a $1.5 million gift from the estate of Carlos M. Ayala ’57 specifically to support the college’s finance program, the room also includes the Rathe Computer Lab. A portion of the Ayala gift added $900,000 to an existing student-managed investment fund, bringing its total value to $1 million. Finance Professor Ron Christner, Ph.D., teaches the student-managed investment fund class where investments are solely managed by finance majors. The remainder of the money was allocated within the finance concentration to provide funding for more investment finance classes, a research database system, and the stock trading room.

Ayala’s daughter, Lily Ayala Berlyn ’89, says no matter where he was in life, her father kept Loyola close to his heart and wanted tomorrow’s students to have the tools needed to graduate and hit the ground running.

“My dad cherished his days at Loyola. It provided him with a wonderful education which he used for work and investing,” Ayala Berlyn says. “He did very well, including 2010. I don’t think he had any losses during the recession—only gains!”

“This momentous gift will have a tremendous impact on the College of Business for a long time,” says College of Business Dean William Locander, Ph.D. “The creation of a fund this size puts Loyola in a top class of student-managed funds in the country. Our students will have a unique opportunity to learn by investing, just as Mr. Ayala did.”

Christner agrees that having a $1 million investment fund puts Loyola in elite company among other business schools. “Probably at most, only five to ten percent of business schools in the United States even have a student-managed investment fund, and only a few have a fund this large,” he says. “For our graduating students looking for a job, being able to go into an interview and say that they helped manage a million dollar stock portfolio makes them stand out.”

The student response to the room has been one of enthusiasm and appreciation. And why not—they now have access to financial state-of-the-art educational resources including Stata, a statistical software program, available for finance and economic classes, and the Thomson Rueters video wall that showcases stocks, including those purchased through Christner’s class. The impact the room will have on students’ education and career plans is not lost on them as noted in their thoughts included here:

Jay Mukherjee, senior finance/economics double major, says: “The Carlos M. Ayala Stock Trading Room has essentially become a second home to me. If I’m not at class or work, I’m in the trading room. It’s a great place for business students to get work done and be around students with similar majors. The trading room gives the CoB a sense of professionalism, and shows that the school is interested in more than just learning out of a book.”

Mukherjee says the best part about the room is being surrounded by everything finance—sort of a finance Utopia. With TV monitors set to CNBC, he gets to keep an eye on market activity throughout the day—including activity related to the student-run portfolio.

“I’m really glad the room was finished before I graduated. It has made my experience as a finance and economics major so much more exciting,” adds Mukherjee.

Christner concurs. “A big advantage to having the room is that students can pull up current stock information on individual screens to prepare for class discussions. It adds a real-time aspect to the class.” He continues, “Students in the investment-management class can go to various brokerage firms’ websites, put in our account number, and pull up account info. The interaction is much more dynamic. ”

Albert Clesi, junior accounting and finance major, affirms that having access to such technology has its advantages. “In the short period of time I’ve been utilizing the Carlos M. Ayala Stock Trading Room, I have found my efficiency in completing class projects has improved. We are able to stay up-to-date on all the rapidly changing market information. What a difference!”

Dwight Davison, finance senior, is equally as pleased. “The aesthetics of the room really motive me and augment my interest in our Student Managed Investment Fund. It provides for a much more interactive environment for the class. And, as a computer lab, it is more conducive than other campus labs to completing homework and class projects.”

This generous gift from Ayala allows the CoB to enhance the learning experiences of its students and is expected to ultimately serve as a recruitment tool for the college. The glow of that electronic ticker against the night sky will surely attract many future finance majors for years to come. We think Ayala would be pleased.

Features of the Carlos M. Ayala Stock Trading Room

1. Robert J. Rathe, Sr., and Gustave H. Rathe, Jr., Computer Laboratory
2. Twenty student workstations with dual monitors (several dedicated to host financial data
3. A Digital Media Presentation System and Room Controller
4. Faculty podium and lectern housing:
          a. Computer
          b. Smart-podium interactive LCD monitor
          c. Laptop connector
          d. Digital document camera
          e. Blu-ray disc player and HDTV tuner
5. Two 80" Sharp LED LCD TVs
6. Four 55" NEC LED backlit displays
7. Double-sided Rise Stock Ticker display system
8. Tannoy audio ceiling system
9. Two laser printers

View the complete spring 2013 issue of Loyola Executive.

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