AU students doing well at international competition

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Trading places

Three teams from AU’s Faculty of Business are currently competing in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Trading Challenge. At the end of the preliminary round, two of AU’s teams have finished in the top ten per cent of challengers and will go on to the one-day CME Market Education Conference in Chicago.

“Our students showed they have what it takes to be professional traders in one of the world’s most intense trading environments,” Acting Faculty of Business Dean Dr. Deborah Hurst said.

The AU Traders team (MBA students Todd Boyer, Ashula Ohri, Tim Stevens, Stephanie Partridge and Sudhir Sandhu) moved from 62nd place to 23rd place on February 25. In two days, the team leapt from 114th place to 23rd.

Team Far & Wide (undergraduate students Alex Poulton, Natalie Allport, OP Sihota and S. Kiran Mona), took 20th place at the beginning of the competition and held firm in that spot through to the end.
AU’s third team, INK AU Traders (undergraduate students Nathan Tomkow, Chris Ireland, Isaac Otway and Sakib Manjawala), also did very well but were not able to crack the top 50.

Using live data in a simulated environment, CME student teams compete in an experience designed to mimic that of professional Chicago Mercantile Exchange traders. They are judged by the worth of the portfolios they have assembled by the end of the round. Far & Wide’s portfolio was worth $151,807.00, while AU Traders’ portfolio was worth $150,518.13. The first place team’s portfolio was worth $191,192.50 while the last place team’s was worth just $15,028.13.

The competition is steep: 503 teams from 226 universities in 37 countries, totalling 2,019 students, a group including some of the top universities in the world. Dr. Eric Wang and Dr. Merlyn Foo are the academic advisors to the student teams. “Congratulations to our teams for their excellent performance in the preliminary round of CME 2015 competition and having put Athabasca University in the spotlight among universities from all over the world,” Dr. Wang wrote.

According to Dr. Foo, the key words for this year’s teams were, “preparation, perseverance, and communication.” The teams prepared by studying long- and short-term market trends, persevered through tough spots when they were down in the standings, and communicated effectively through text and teleconference to adjust and execute their strategies. “I am very proud to be part of their learning process,” she said, “and the result is that we have two out of only four Canadian teams to qualify for the final competition.”

Although all students in the top ten per cent have already won their spot at the one-day CME Market Education Conference in Chicago, the teams are not done yet. The final round of the current competition began on Monday, February 23 at market open and concludes Friday, March 6 at market close.

Follow the teams on Twitter @AU_Business for daily updates until the Challenge ends.

CME Group is the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, handling 3 billion contracts worth approximately $1 quadrillion annually (on average). The company provides a marketplace for buyers and sellers, bringing together individuals, companies and institutions that need to manage risk or that want to profit by accepting risk.