Business Intelligence Internship – Summer 2016

As part of our continuing effort to foster excellence in our product offerings, we host a demanding, ongoing internship program for college students.  We’ve offered internships for more than a decade, but this season’s effort was different, as it focused on combining modern business intelligence tools with our own risk analytic platforms and APIs to develop financial dashboards and reporting tools for the investment community.

Financial Dashboards

Dashboards are becoming an industry must-have. Imagine’s customized dashboards provide clients with powerful financial analytics, business metrics, and current performance to measure and evaluate risk, all with a flat learning curve.  Dashboards seemed a natural focal point – and great opportunity – for our interns.

The interns received comprehensive training and mentoring at Imagine. Once their initial training ended, they began working side-by-side with both our Quantitative Analysts and Business Intelligence Analysts gaining insight and hands-on experience.

On the last day of their internship, they presented a company-wide demonstration of their dashboards. Each intern presented and demonstrated their contributions to the final project to us as if we were clients. They presented dashboards for the following investment strategy types:

  • Global Macro
  • Long Short Equity
  • Fixed Income
  • FX
  • Commodities

Slideshow of intern dashboards

Team Collaboration

Imagine works as a team, and we extended that core value to our interns. The end result was a group of interns who enjoyed both their interaction with each other and with others throughout the company.  The team experience offered them exposure to many different roles in the Business Intelligence process, which gave them a much more comprehensive understanding than they could have gained if on their own.

Here’s what the interns said they appreciated about our program:

  • Learning the basics in finance, JavaScript, and data visualization. They then took what they learned and developed dashboards they felt would provide value. Our Interns liked the level of freedom they had to define team roles, design visuals, and code dashboard behavior while still remaining a cohesive group.
  • Our Consulting Group guided the interns, providing them with the information they needed to understand the real world applications of the dashboards they created.
  • Our strategy experts provided them with the ability to better understand the rationale behind the projects they were working on.
  • The interns were mainly from technical or quantitative backgrounds that do not generally require presentation skills as part of their curricula. We wanted to give them the experience of giving a presentation to a company-wide group of professionals on a complex subject. In the end, they were proud to present tools that were actually meaningful, useful, and of tangible value.

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Schools and programs we’ve recruited from for our internships:

Our internship is offered all year, and if you’re interested in being considered for any of our sessions (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer), email  Dwayne Fauvell.

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About the Author

Trever Evans has been with Imagine Software for eleven years and has been participating in scoping, development, and implementation of larger scale initiatives for Imagine. He holds an MS in Quantitative Financial Economics from Oklahoma State University. He is currently Director of Consulting for Imagine.

Contact Trever by email or phone: 646-827-4483.

You Have Questions? We’ve Got Answers

A Q&A with Eric Pearl

Eric Pearl is the Director of Platform Marketplace and Consulting at Imagine. We sat down to ask him a few questions about the Excel Add-in.

Hey Eric, first, can you give some background on what Imagine Apps are?

An Imagine App is our name for a small JavaScript program that provides access to the rich universe of Imagine data and analytics. These Imagine Apps are made with standard JavaScript that access modules allowing you to access your positions, query current and historical data related to those positions, utilize Imagine’s curves, create analytic functions, run risk tools, and more. We do not run the JavaScript inside a browser – it runs in a process on our servers, and has API access to our business logic and persistent store. You can learn more about our JavaScript API here.

So is the Excel Add-in an App?

No, our add-in is built incorporating two separate pieces of technology; Imagine Apps and Imagine’s REST API.  Imagine’s REST web services provides a standard web service interface to Imagine Apps. And, remember, the apps are just JavaScript. You can learn more about Web Services here, and Imagine’s REST web service here.  Our web service uses the language-independent data format JSON for passing and returning data. So what happens is that our add-in does a translation of inputs to JSON for the REST call, and translates the JSON results back out to a cell (or range of cells).  The bottom line is this—the IFP Excel Add-in seamlessly integrates Imagine with Excel.

Can you give us an example of how it works?

Sure! Our add-in provides an Excel UDF (User Defined Functions) named IMAGINE() which can be used like other Excel functions like AVERAGE() or SUM(). Below is a screenshot showing how to use IMAGINE() in a formula to invoke an Imagine App named myApp. (We also demonstrate this in our demo located here).

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The IMAGINE() formula passes the user’s input (the contents of A1 and B1) to the function with the exported name getVolSurface in the Imagine App myApp. Naturally, inputs and outputs can include Excel cell ranges as well.

In addition to the IMAGINE() UDF, we also provide IMAGINE.VBA(), which is easier when you are writing macros or VBA. See our demo for an example of how this works.

Where can I get the App? What if I want to write my own App?

Want to write your own App? Great, more details on the process are included for you  here.  Rather have Imagine Consulting write the App for you? The Imagine Consulting team can do that—contact us at consulting@imagine-sw.com.

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About the Author
Eric Pearl has been developing risk and portfolio systems for over twenty years. In 2000, he helped launch the industry’s first and leading SaaS solution and in 2012, he launched Imagine’s Platform Marketplace.

Contact our consultants by email or phone: 212-317-7600