Students use financial lab to learn real-world skills

Students used to spend hours in lab before COVID-19; can still use it remotely



Before COVID-19, the Tom and Linda Nihoul Bloomberg Financial Laboratory was a place for students to study and do research. Now students can still access it remotely.

SADIE SALTER, Evergreen reporter

WSU finance students have the opportunity to learn real-world financial and marketing skills through remote access to a financial laboratory financed by donations.

The Tom and Linda Nihoul Bloomberg Financial Laboratory in the Carson College of Business houses 12 terminals that give students and faculty access to news and stock market data, said David Whidbee, chair of the Department of Finance and Management Science. 

While students cannot go to the lab because of COVID-19, they can still access the lab data and news online, said Mario Reyes, clinical professor in the Department of Finance and Management Science.

The Carson College of Business established the Tom and Linda Nihoul Bloomberg Financial Laboratory, said WSU alumnus Tom Nihoul, who made a large investment to establish the laboratory alongside Linda Nihoul.

Whidbee said the Nihouls graduated from the Carson College of Business and are longtime supporters of WSU.

Reyes said he teaches a Cougar Investment Fund course that uses the lab resources.

The course teaches students marketing skills as well as portfolio management, Whidbee said. 

“The Cougar Investment Fund course also teaches real-world life skills in which students can research a company to invest in and do the research they need to make recommendations [about whether other students should invest in the company] to their classmates,” Whidbee said.

Students use many resources in the lab during the class so they can build and enhance their marketing and finance skills, which prepares them to enter the workforce, Reyes said.

WSU alumna Linda Nihoul said the lab opened in October 2018 and is funded by the Carson College dean’s catalyst fund.

“This is donor-provided funds intended to initiate new and innovative and creative opportunities for students and programs,” Whidbee said.

Before COVID-19, the lab was a place for students to study. It allowed finance students to do their research for their coursework, he said.

“When the lab opened, it was so successful that students spent hours on their research,” Whidbee said. 

Tom Nihoul said he and Linda invested in the fund because they wanted to give students more resources to prepare themselves for the workforce.

“Because of Tom and Linda Nihoul’s charitable investment in the lab, students and finance majors have access to a reliable source of Bloomberg data, which is used in today’s markets,” Whidbee said.