Campus & Community

Top Stevens Traders Get Tour of Chicago Mercantile Exchange

For the second year in a row, the Howe School of Technology Management had a team of students qualify for the final round of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s annual trading competition.

Stevens entered two teams of five students each into this year’s event, according to Dr. Eleni Gousgounis, an assistant professor in the Howe School, who has students participate in the CME Group’s Trading Challenge as part of her derivatives course.

“To me, it’s a practical application of the topics covered in the class” Gousgounis said. “My class is providing an overview of derivatives. We discuss how derivatives are used — for speculation and hedging, also how they are priced and traded. What they gain from this trading competition is more insight into the trading side of it. They get to follow the markets, form strategies and execute them. At the same time they have to be mindful of margin requirements.”

This year, nearly 400 teams — representing 207 schools from more than 30 countries — entered the four-week electronic trading competition.

The challenge has three rounds — practice, preliminary and final — with the goal being to raise as much money as possible in each round by taking positions and executing trades of different futures contracts, primarily futures on commodities like crude oil, gold, agricultural products and financial assets. The top 10 percent of teams after the second round move on to the final and are invited to visit the CME for some networking.

Stevens students from the team of finalists made the trip to Chicago on April 11, Gousgounis said.

“It’s a very interesting experience because students have the opportunity to interact with traders, visit the gallery and watch trading at the pit,” she said. When the exchange closed, the students got to visit the pit and got training in how to conduct activity on the floor. They also were invited to a networking session with traders and other CME executives at the Willis Tower.

This year’s top-ranked teams were from, in order, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Boston University, Georgia State University and Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation, according to the CME website.