Greater Bank Finance Lab

The University of Newcastle and Greater Bank have established a five-year partnership to build financial literacy in the community. With our combined strengths in education, banking, community engagement and regional focus, this partnership provides community focused and research driven programs. The Greater Bank Finance Lab is one of the outcomes of this partnership.

The Greater Bank Finance Lab is a state-of-the-art space. It has twenty high-configuration workstations, two large digital screens, and a central podium. The space is zoom-enabled to facilitate remote teaching and collaborative research. The lab drives several teaching and learning initiatives and community engagement activities. For example, the lab workstations provide students with access to real-time and historical financial database (FactSet). The lab infrastructure has enabled to develop Student Managed Investment Fund. The lab is also provisioned with Rotman Interactive Trader (RIT), a market-simulator. All these initiatives provide students with a hands-on learning experience in the finance and accounting courses. The lab also serves as the Business Analytics Co-Design Lab which provides digital experience in business education and aim to make our students “Tech-Ready” for the digital futures. With regard to engagement activities, the lab hosts an industry lecture series titled “Finance in Action Series”, and runs finance sessions for community members. These initiatives are discussed more detail below.

FactSet: The real-time data

FactSet is a financial database which we subscribe to at NBS. FactSet provides access to financial data and analytics that investors, fund managers as well as researchers use across the world. The Greater Bank Finance Lab workstations are connected to FactSet. Further, students enrolled in Finance and Economics courses also get access to the web version of FactSet. This database is extensively used in workshops conducted in the Greater Bank Finance Lab. Assessment items in undergraduate and postgraduate finance courses (for example, Corporate Finance, Investment Analysis, Portfolio Management) are also developed based on the use of this database. This approach provides students the opportunity to use real-time financial data to test/apply their classroom learning.

Rotman Interactive Trader: Integrating theory with practice

Newcastle Business School subscribes to Rotman Interactive Trader (RIT). This is currently provisioned in the Greater Bank Finance Lab. This is a market-simulator that provides students with a hands-on approach to learning finance with real world cases to apply finance theory in a stochastic setting. This platform provides similar stock trading order management systems as those used by major financial institutions. Students control their order types, negotiate and book a trade with counterparty students, thus navigate real-life issues faced by investors and fund managers.

Student Managed Investment Fund

Selected students undertaking the finance major of the Bachelor of Commerce have the opportunity of active input into the management of the University of Newcastle’s Student Management Investment Fund. Students participating in this experiential learning activity are exposed to the fundamentals of portfolio management and investments within the course ACFI3019 Funds Management. Having been exposed to these fundamentals, they provide via written and oral submissions recommendations to the Student Management Investment Committee as to the security selection, asset allocation and risk-management decisions of the fund. The Investment Committee is comprised of academic and industry fund managers.

The Business Analytics Co-Design Lab

The Greater Bank Finance Lab also serves as the Business Analytics Co-Design Lab. The Lab is aimed to bring business managers, data scientists, academics and students together for reproducing a digital experience in business higher education. This will enhance our pedagogies for preparing business graduates to succeed and make them “Tech-Ready” for their digital futures. We are keen to educate the next generation talent and foster analytics skills for accelerating Australian rural and urban communities and transforming businesses and other social organizations. The objectives are to disseminate practical knowledge of various emerging digital technologies that may have various applications in business data collecting, treating, analyzing, and visualizing for the benefit of business decision making. For achieving these, the lab enables a practical learning environment that engages students with the latest business analytics tools and techniques, building industry collaborations and stakeholder engagements into the process of various solutions co-designing. Students’ analytics skills and talent development are the central aim of this initiative.

By engaging in the foregoing activities, students will gain experience and exposure to essential analytics platforms, tools and techniques including Hadoop, Tableau, R, Python, Power BI, Spark and TensorFlow. For instance, for processing natural language or textual data, various natural language processing (NLP) algorithms will be available, including topic modelling, sentiment analysis, text classification, summarization, annotation, translation and question answering. As a result, students will be proficient in the manipulation and analyses of large unstructured text datasets for knowledge discovery, will understand how to design NLP solutions, and will be aware of their commercial application. From social media mining, brand awareness, marketing research and automation, students will be well prepared to meeting industry demand for various NLP and other relevant analytics applications. These include financial evaluations, trend detection and monitoring of business functions as well as for unfolding insights of selection of marketing content that better resonates with consumers.

As NLP capabilities continue to mature, unstructured text progressively expands, and business analytics resources are increasingly accessible, industry demand for professionals experienced in understanding various analytics and NLP solutions continue to grow.  The lab is therefore aligned to meeting industry demand, by producing professionals with proficient analytics skills in this business-essential technical area, leading to produce competitive business graduates with world-class knowledge of data-driven problem solving in this digital era. The entire understanding is to promote the latest industry-oriented teaching and learning in business disciplines for enhancing employability.

Greater Bank Finance Academy

Since 2019, the University of Newcastle and Greater Bank have worked together to build financial literacy for high school students through the Greater Bank Finance Academy.

To date over 2,000 high school students from across New South Wales have undertaken the Finance Academy. Almost 30% of high school students who have participated in the Finance Academy are located in the 10% most disadvantaged socio-economic areas of Australia.

The Greater Bank Finance Academy is a free, online and face to face financial literacy education program for high school students. Ambassadors from Greater Bank, and students from the Newcastle Business School host workshops on varied topics from savings and budgeting through to investing and cybercrime. This program combines theoretical knowledge with practical examples of what young people need to think about as they plan for their future.

Greater Bank Finance Sessions

Financial Literacy education programs and workshops designed for the broader community. These short courses, open to the community, share practical information on financial topics such as reducing debt, managing finances and how to avoid being scammed.

Programs include Financial Literacy for Seniors and Financial Literacy for Women at Risk.

Junior Finance Academy

The Junior Finance Academy is a free financial literacy education program where students from year 3 to year 6 can learn about the concept of money in a fun way with age appropriate activities. The program is 100% online and on demand. This means it’s perfect for parents to lead their children through the program at a time that suits them best. Follow these links to learn more:

Junior Finance Academy stage 2

Junior Finance Academy stage 3

Other engagement activities

The Greater Bank Finance Lab is also used to facilitate various engagement activities. For example, workshops are conducted for students majoring in Finance and Economics. These workshops typically focus on how to use the Finance Lab, financial databases, and research tools for learning purposes. The Greater Bank Finance Lab also hosts community clinics for retirees and high school students. These clinics concentrate on basic taxation, investment, and financial planning issues. The lab will also introduce a webinar series on contemporary finance and economics issues.

2022 Greater Bank Financial Wellbeing Report (PDF, 407KB)

Find out more About our partnership

Zac, a University of Newcastle student ambassador for the Greater Bank Finance Academy, talks about the academy and the financial literacy programs.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.