A top trade: UCL’s virtual trading room

1 November 2011

Reuters_Canary-Wharf

A unique collaboration between business and academia is offering UCL students unparalleled work experience and delivering high calibre graduates to financial companies. UCL’s partnership with Thomson Reuters – which provides intelligent information for business – has grown so strong that it won the UCL Enterprise Partner of the Year in 2008.

Trading games

Thanks to its close relationship with Reuters, UCL is one of the few universities to have its own virtual trading room. Philip Treleaven, professor of computing at UCL and a specialist in financial technology said, “Our virtual trading room is equipped with dual monitor computers and displays live market prices. In theory we could trade – of course, we’re not allowed to!”

Prof Treleaven puts every undergraduate on a finance-related course through the virtual trading room. They get a basic grounding in Reuters 3000 Xtra, the electronic trading platform used by traders to buy and sell financial products, giving them a hand onto the first step of the career ladder.

Giving lectures a buzz

It’s not just trading room experience that students get. UCL’s courses include lectures and practical lab work from Reuters plus some top-tier investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.

Prof Treleaven said, “I get senior investment bankers in to do course lecturing as they are so good at it. We prepare the lecture timetable and the slides, and MDs come in to deliver the lectures. It gives the course a real buzz. These people are experts in both the theory and the practice, plus they are highly skilled communicators, so the quality of the lectures is excellent.”

Unsurprisingly, the students are keen to meet their potential employers. “They’re in their seats at 8 o’clock in the morning to hear these people. It really does motivate them; they think it’s absolutely wonderful,” said Prof Treleaven.

A CV boost

Students also work towards obtaining Reuters industry certification as evidence of their unique learning, helping to set UCL students apart in an extremely competitive job market.

Second year Computer Science undergraduate Bogdan Batrinca said, “Being able to take the Reuters 3000 Xtra certificate and get professional training from Reuters for free is awesome. It allowed me to kill two birds with one stone: complete the Financial Computing course work and improve my CV by obtaining this certificate.”

Win-win

What does Reuters get out of the partnership? Prof Treleaven said, “They are very generous, and we try to deliver our part of the deal. We give them as much exposure as possible by putting as many students as we can through their Reuters certification. They can be confident that the investment bankers of the future will be thoroughly on board with their technology and services.”