Finance and Risk Engineering Students Excel at National Financial Trading Competition

Experiencing the daily demands of a financial trader can offer invaluable insight as Finance and Risk Engineering (FRE) students explore their post-graduation career paths in the financial market — an experience that the University Trading Challenge (UTC) aims to provide in its annual competition. The UTC hosted finance and economics graduate students from across the U.S. at Temple University in Philadelphia on November 4. Students worked in teams, applying their academic skills to real-world trading simulations and analyzing financial markets in four intensive challenges, including real-news trading, investment banking presentations, portfolio management, and foreign exchange trading.

Three FRE student teams — the NYU Gamblers, NYU FRE THE BEST, and NYU ERA — competed at the event, receiving awards that showcased both the teams’ and individual students’ trading acumen. Professor Andrew Papanicolaou of Financial and Risk Engineering acted as the faculty adviser for the Tandon students.

NYU Gamblers (left to right): Zhen Dong, Yujie Zhou, Zhengbin

NYU Gamblers (left to right): Zhen Dong, Yujie Zhou, Zhengbin Yan

The NYU Gamblers, comprised of Zhen Dong, Zhengbin Yan, and Yujie Zhou, took home a second-place prize for their team’s overall performance at the UTC. Dong expressed that the team had “devoted a lot” to the competition, working diligently in the month ahead for the Real News Challenge, where they monitored the effects of real news on trading prices throughout October. “We were very happy to have this award and it was a great experience,” Dong said.

Dong also received an individual award for his performance in the real news challenge, which implemented Capital RNTS, a real news trading simulator. “Because this simulator is not completely the same as the real market, we have some arbitrage opportunity and more system risk on this simulated market,” Dong said. “I spent a lot of time observing the price, so I caught almost all the major opportunities while others got only some.”

NYU FRE THE BEST (left to righ) Xialiang Liu, Chengguo Yang, Siyu Ye

NYU FRE THE BEST (left to right) Xialiang Liu, Chengguo Yang, Siyu Ye

Chengguo Yang, Siyu Ye, and Xialiang Liu of NYU FRE THE BEST were named Team Champion in the Forex (foreign exchange) Trading Challenge. Yang and Ye are both FRE students, while Liu studies Computer Science at Courant. The forex challenge allowed the team to understand firsthand the volatility of managing a company’s foreign exchange risk, which relies on currency exchange rates. Yang also acknowledged the significant differences between trading in the simulations and trading in the real capital market, but noted that he and his teammates found themselves following the market every day even after the challenge ended. “We also learned that you need to be smart and quick in the market,” Yang, who was team captain, said. “Otherwise the opportunity might slip away.”

NYU ERA (left to right) Wen qi Zhou, Qiuyu Long, Xingyue

NYU ERA (left to right) Wenqi Zhou, Qiuyu Long, Xingyue Huang

Wenqui Zhou, Quiyu Long, and Xingyue Huang competed as the NYU ERA team, with Huang securing an individual award in the Portfolio Challenge. The challenge presented a portfolio management simulation, where students were assessed on their trading quality.

Though demanding, the competition was “full of fun,” Dong said. Yang echoed this sentiment, observing how the experience of competing and winning multiple awards has bolstered the students’ confidence as they look towards the future. 


Camila Ryder
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Master of Arts in English Literature, Class of 2018

Learn more about: Andrew Papanicolaou