Seated in front of a Bloomberg terminal, a financial modeling text at the ready, Octavian Ionici has his feet firmly in two worlds.
The new director of Kogod’s Financial Services and IT (FSIT) Lab, Ionici brings years of corporate finance experience to AU. The financial economist has held managerial positions in the financial services advisory division of a private equity fund in Europe, and served as a consultant for the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and Global Insight.
Now, Ionici is sharing his market savvy with Kogod students.
Located in the new Kogod expansion, the FSIT Lab opened this spring. The state-of-the-art lab features a trading wall with a stock ticker and news feed, and 37 workstations loaded with 13 software packages.
“These tools will give students a new edge and show potential employers that they are better prepared than the competition,” said Ionici. And in this day and age, when B-school grads “are competing with people laid off from Lehman Brothers or Bear Sterns, who have 10 years experience, knowing how to use these tools give students a huge advantage.”
Since arriving at AU three months ago from Loyola University, Ionici has conducted 10 Thomson One and Bloomberg training sessions and workshops, attended by more than 250 students. Ionici, himself a finance professor, is also working with faculty throughout Kogod to integrate a lab component into their curriculum.
“During their freshman year, we want every student to put a foot in the lab. And by their junior year, we hope they’ll regularly utilize the tools for data and analysis,” he said. “Our goal is to help students stay informed of what’s going on in the business world, and to prepare them to be successful leaders in private and public companies.”
Ionici’s emphasis on student engagement reaches beyond the lab.
This semester, he founded AU’s chapter of the Financial Management Association (FMA), whose 3,000 members include Wall Street titans, academics, and students, alike. The AU chapter, which includes five officers and 29 members, will take field trips, host guest speakers, attend conferences, and organize training sessions.
“FMA is a wonderful opportunity for students to apply all the knowledge they’ve acquired in their classes and fine-tune their skills in a mini–Wall Street setting,” he said. “I’m glad to work with such an enthusiastic group of students.”