by Eric D. Lehman, Associate Professor, Communications Specialist
On October 28, 2022, a University of Bridgeport student team won second place in the 2022 CME Group University Trading Challenge.
The winning team included Gopal Karki (captain), Javkhlant-Od Batsaikhan, Adejoke Ifafesobi, and Nasirul Haque. “The competition allowed us to assess the skills and knowledge we learned at UB and proved what me and my teammates are capable of,” said Karki. “It gave us a platform to use our knowledge from our academic journey in the real market.”
This global trading competition is sponsored by CME, the world’s leading derivatives marketplace, and involves students from universities all over the world. This year, 491 teams from 208 schools representing 23 countries were registered, including those from elite institutions such as MIT, University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, and NYU.
The UB team was one of several from Professor Congsheng Wu’s course on Financial Derivatives and Risk Management (FIN 545). All students in his class participated in the competition as part of the course requirements. “I decided to incorporate the CME competition into the curriculum because it offers students a unique opportunity to learn and experience the excitement and decision-making of real-time trading of derivatives,” said Professor Wu. “It is a perfect opportunity to combine theory with practice.”
Throughout the semester, students learn how these derivatives work, how they can be used for speculation and risk management, and how their prices are determined. “I am very proud of the winning team’s success,” said the Director of the Ernest C. Trefz School of Business, Timothy Raynor. “Equally important is that all of Professor Wu’s teams had a practical, real-life learning experience.”
Along with experiencing the ins and outs of derivative trading, the finance students learned the importance of teamwork. “For the 29 days of the contest, we had each other’s backs, writing reports and doing research,” said Karki. “Whenever you feel like you are losing money or hope, it’s good to have a team to back you up.”
Each team member received a cash prize of $1,500 and all but Haque were able to fly to Chicago on December 4 to attend the awards ceremony and Market Education Day. Karki, Batsaikhan, and Ifafesobi met the first-place team from Universidad Anahuac in Mexico as well as other participants and financial professionals from around the world.
“It was a great avenue for networking,” said Ifafesobi. “The event bridged the gap between students and the top people in the industry.” Originally from Nigeria, Ifafesobi plans to stay in the U.S. after graduating with a dual Finance and Analytics and Systems major. “The competition taught me that I can combine skills from both majors together to succeed,” she said. “It’s a big industry.”
All the team members are scheduled to graduate in May 2023. After obtaining some expertise in the US financial markets, Karki wants to go back to Nepal and launch an investment company that will close the gap between finance and agriculture there. For now, though, he is enjoying the victory. “This was a fantastic chance to promote UB on a worldwide scale,” said Karki. “We put our university’s name out there with NYU and MIT and showed that UB is competitive with premier universities. It was an honor to put our university’s name on the leaderboard for the entire month.”