UAB tops hundreds of universities in international investments competition

A futures trading team from UAB proves investment savvy in simulated trading competition, placing first among U.S. institutions and second among all in the international competition.
Written by: Katherine Shonesy
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cme business(L-R) Robert Mann, Daniel Sanabria and Brent DonelsonA team from the University of Alabama at Birmingham has taken home second place in a futures trading competition up against more than 500 teams from 226 universities representing 37 countries, besting teams from schools worldwide, including Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Georgetown University and the London School of Economics.

CME Group’s Trading Challenge is an electronic investments trading competition in which teams of undergraduate and graduate students trade a variety of CME Group products from multiple asset classes in a simulated trading environment on a real-time trading platform. The competition is designed to provide student teams with an educational experience consistent with that of professional trading.

The UAB team placed first among all U.S. universities, and was the only team to place in the top three in the preliminary and in the championship round.

“The students employed a strategy that proved to be successful consistently, as proved by their placement in the preliminary and placement rounds,” said Andreas Rauterkus, Ph.D., associate professor in the Collat School of Business Department of Accounting and Finance. “This is a great accomplishment for these students and awesome exposure for UAB.”

UAB students participating were team leader Daniel Sanabria, a Master of Business Administration student and portfolio manager for the Alternatives sector of the Collat School of Business’ award-winning, student-managed Green and Gold Fund; Robert Mann, a Master of Mathematics student and chief economist for the Green and Gold Fund; Brent Donelson, a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance student and portfolio manager for the Green and Gold Fund’s IT/Telecom sector; and Ekaterina Soshnikova, a Master of Business Administration international student from Russia. Each of the participating students is actively involved in the capital markets either personally or professionally.  

cme business2Ekaterina SoshnikovaThe competition consisted of a practice round and two live trading rounds over a period of approximately two months. In each round, teams were required to execute at least 10 trades on a daily basis in any of the nine futures contracts designated by CME Group.

The teams traded using live data in a simulated environment, and executed trades through the CQG platform, which is a robust research and entry order platform used in the industry by trading professionals.

In the preliminary round, each team began with $100,000, and the UAB team was able to grow that base amount to $178,927.50. UAB ended the preliminary round in third place, and advanced to the final round among the top 10 percent of teams. In the final round, all teams started with an initial balance of $200,000. UAB grew the account to $490,287.50, giving the team its second-place prize.

“We believe the key to our success is that we were able to understand the dynamics of the competition very early on,” said Sanabria. “We looked at the performance of previous participants and had a pretty good idea of the trading profits we needed to generate to score well in the competition.”

Each student from the UAB team will receive a $700 cash prize. The students have also been invited to participate in a conference at CME Group’s headquarters in Chicago this April.

“We are extremely proud of these outstanding students,” said Eric P. Jack, dean of the Collat School of Business. “Their accomplishment is a testament to the exceptional hands-on experience our Green and Gold Fund and our MBA program provide.”