NYU-Poly Team Trades with the Best of Them

Financial Engineering Students Take Second Place in CME Group Commodity Trading Challenge

Akbar Hossain, Ananth Sheshadri, Jwalin Pandya, Brijal Gaglani

NEW YORK, April 4, 2013 – Four financial engineering students of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) traded simulated crude oil, gold and corn futures 23 hours a day for four weeks and increased their holdings by nearly 28 percent in the final round to capture second place in the prestigious CME Group Commodity Trading Challenge.

The challenge attracted 320 student teams from across the world in the preliminary two week-long round. Teams began trading on February 12, 2013 with a simulated $100,000 margin account. The NYU-Poly team of graduate students Brijal Gaglani, Akbar Hossain, Jwalin Pandya and Ananth Seshadri grew their investment to $123,000 – qualifying for the final round of 33 teams. During those final two weeks, their simulated $250,000 investment grew to $319,625.

Working in real time on the professional CQG IC trading platform, they conducted technical analysis and factored in business and macroeconomic news as they traded. The four members of NYU-Poly’s The Masterminds team took shifts to cover the 23-hour trading day, and they quickly exchanged text messages to collaborate on particularly tough trades when they could not meet in person. At one point, they lost $30,000 in five minutes as the price of gold plummeted – a lesson in the emotions involved when a trader must cut losses. Perseverance proved vital in the final days when they also juggled exams, work and job interviews.

Gaglani, Pandya and Seshadri – all from India – and Hossain – from Bangladesh – met during their first year of graduate school and began studying together. Most had conducted minor trades as undergraduates, and they decided to form a team in 2012 to compete in the CME Group Commodity Trading Challenge. They lost – but learned how to compete for 2013, when they represented NYU-Poly as its senior team.

They will attend the winners’ ceremony and tour CME’s Chicago headquarters on
April 12, 2013.

NYU-Poly’s financial engineering degree was the second program of its kind, and the first curriculum certified by the International Association of Financial Engineers.  It is among the largest program of its kind in the world, educating nearly 250 graduate students from across the globe.

The CME Group is among the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplaces. The company offers global benchmark products across all major asset classes, including futures and options based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural commodities, metals, weather and real estate.  CME Group brings buyers and sellers together through its CME Globex® electronic trading platform and its trading facilities in New York and Chicago.  CME Group also operates CME Clearing, one of the world's leading central counterparty clearing providers, which offers clearing and settlement services across asset classes for exchange-traded contracts and over-the-counter derivatives transactions.