Campus Life

U of L team sweeps up the competition at the University Trading Challenge

University of Lethbridge teams proved their mettle on the trading floor during the recent University Trading Challenge (UTC), with one team capturing first place in all categories.

Cameron Pituley, the winning team’s captain, said their success was part hard work and part commitment. Other team members included Conner Williams, Brooke Winarski and Jason Murray.

“It was truly a team effort to bring it all together and it would be difficult for me to find a better group of people to work with,” says Pituley. “In each of the activities, we had one person who would shine. All of us are fairly involved as students and do as much as we can. Our extra level of interest in the competition helped drive us to succeed.”

Dr. Vishaal Baulkaran, far left, coached U of L students, from left to right, Conner Williams, Brooke Winarski, Jason Murray and Cameron Pituley, to a first-place finish in the recent University Trading Challenge.

This was the first time the U of L hosted the University Trading Challenge, an honour the University received after its Faculty of Management student team placed first in the real-time trading challenge and second place overall in the UTC in New York City last year.

“We were pleased to welcome five teams to the first ever University Trading Challenge to be held in Canada,” says Dr. Shamsul Alam, a Faculty of Management professor. “The students performed well, responding to all the challenges put in front of them. We hope they not only had the opportunity to test out their financial skills, but also to enjoy themselves.”

Three U of L teams, two from Lethbridge and one from Calgary, one Lethbridge College team and one team from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Ont. participated. The U of L Calgary team captured second place and third place went to the Ontario team.

“A competition like this gives students the chance to test their financial skills in more of a real-world setting where pressure can be constant. Our program always emphasizes integration of theory into practice and the trading room facility helps our finance students experience real-world scenarios in a classroom setting, resembling a students-in-training program,” says Alam.

The UTC began with a month-long portfolio challenge and a case study. Pituley executed the trades and each morning he’d check in with his teammates to get their recommendations on buying, selling or holding. The team split up the work so that each member had about a quarter of the portfolio.

The team decided to take longer positions, instead of trading on a daily basis. They wanted to maximize their return and decided that holding their positions longer was less risky, a strategy that paid off at the end of the day.

For the case study, students presented their analyses and recommendations on competition day, Nov. 20. In addition to case presentations, students participated in two short-term trading challenges, a currency trading challenge and a fund management challenge.

“Conner was the shining star on the fund management challenge. He got first place in the individual category,” says Pituley. “Each person traded individually but the score was averaged as a team and we could co-ordinate what we wanted to do.”

Winarski’s skills in presentation proved invaluable after team members realized they had to rework their entire presentation a week before competition day. Murray’s financial acumen in the individual portfolio management category secured him first place and boosted the team’s overall performance.

The UTC was Pituley’s first competition and he heartily encourages other students to give it a try.

“I had a lot of fun. It was very stressful at times but when the day of the competition came around, I was excited to be in a room full of people who were not only as interested as I am in finance, but also really wanted to be there,” says Pituley.

Pituley had high praise for the team’s coach, Dr. Vishaal Baulkaran.

“He took time out of his days leading up to the competition. He provided excellent guidance and we would not have been able to succeed in the investment banking case without him.  He was always available to meet if we had questions or got stuck on a concept,” he says. “I’m really happy with how everything went. I really am proud of my team and the work we put in. I would do the entire experience again if I had the chance.”