Chicago bound! Two AU Trading Group Challenge teams finish in the top 10%!

The preliminary round of the CME Trading Group Challenge is over and not one but TWO of AU’s teams finished in the top 10% of challengers! This is an astounding accomplishment considering the competition: 503 teams from 226 universities in 37 countries, totalling 2,019 students … a group including some of the top universities in the world.  In fact, the probability of two teams from the same school reaching the finals is roughly 2%!

The AU Traders team (Todd Boyer, Ashula Ohri, Tim Stevens, Stephanie Partridge & Sudhir Sandhu) made another incredible leap in the standings from 62nd place at end of day yesterday all the way to 23rd place today. In two days, the team managed to move from 114th place to 23rd – a phenomenal accomplishment. Team Far & Wide (Alex Poulton, Natalie Allport, OP Sihota & S. Kiran Mona), on the other hand, lept to 20th place at the very beginning of the competition and held firm in that spot through to the very end! Our third team, INK AU Traders (Nathan Tomkow, Isaac Otway, and Kim DelenComish), did very well too but weren’t able to crack the top 50.

Using live data in a simulated environment, CME student teams compete in an experience designed to mimic that of professional Chicago Mercantile Exchange traders. They are judged by the worth of the portfolios they have assembled by the end of the round. Far & Wide’s portfolio was worth $151,807.00, while AU Traders’ portfolio was worth $150,518.13. To provide context, the number one team’s portfolio was worth $191,192.50 while the last place team’s was worth just $15,028.13. Our students showed they have what it takes to be professional traders in one of the world’s most intense trading environments.

Dr. Eric Wang, who, along with Dr. Merlyn Foo, acted as academic advisor to the student teams, was naturally thrilled. “Congratulations to our teams for their excellent performance in the preliminary round of CME 2015 competition and having put Athabasca University in the spotlight among universities from all over the world,” he wrote. “Special thanks to the team leaders for having led their respective teams through the scorching heat of this year’s competition in high spirits! We went into the competition to show the world what AU students can be up to, and we did accomplish this goal!”

According to Dr. Foo, the key words for this year’s teams were, “preparation, perseverance, and communication.” The teams prepared by studying long- and short-term market trends, persevered through tough spots when they were down in the standings, and communicated effectively through text and teleconference to adjust and execute their strategies. “I am very proud to be part of their learning process,” she said, “and the result is that we have two out of only four Canadian teams to qualify for the final competition!”

Stay tuned for more news!


Top finishers from the trading challenge are now on the invitation list for an exclusive one-day Market Education Conference to be hosted by CME in Chicago in the near future.

While there, students will learn from business experts on the global marketplace and have the opportunity to meet people from the industry’s top firms at a networking reception and dinner.

Alex Poulton of the AU Traders was part of a team that made the trip to Chicago in 2013, and gives a glimpse of what the top 50 teams are looking forward to: “Chicago, and specifically the CME and CBOT are one of the nerve centers of international finance, along with places like New York, London, Hong Kong, etc. It was just such a privilege to be there in person at the heart of trade. Something else that really left its mark on me was the opportunity to collaborate socially with such a strong concentration of young talent in the field of finance. There was such a lot of energy and enthusiasm there!”


Although all students in the top 10% have already won their spot at the one-day CME Market Education Conference in Chicago, they’re not done yet! The final round of the competition begins Monday, February 23 at market open and concludes Friday, March 6 at market close.

Go teams!