Students experience volatile market in annual trading challenge

The CMC Markets University of Auckland Trading Challenge has concluded, with second-year duo Connie Zhang and David Jiang winning the top spot from among a field of more than 140 teams.

L-R: Harry Ye, Harry Jongbi Park, Connie Zhang, David Jiang, and Chris Smith.

Hosted in association with the University of Auckland’s Management Consulting Club (MCC), the annual competition - now in its tenth year - provides students with the opportunity to experience real world trading via the CMC Markets online trading platform.

Over three weeks, the teams (comprised of one or two people) went head to head in a quest to secure the best return on investment (ROI) using a virtual fund of NZ$100,000.

Participating students were able to practice with a range of financial derivative instruments, including shares, cryptocurrencies and commodities such as gold and oil. The global impact of COVID-19 resulted in high levels of market volatility throughout the competition providing students with a challenging but rewarding learning experience.

The winning team earned an ROI of 129.18 percent and final account balance of over NZD$229,000.

Commerce and Science conjoint student, Zhang says, “This competition was my first experience in CFD trading and although overwhelming at first, with all the different tools and instruments, I began to enjoy seeing the changes in the market and speculating on different products. This opportunity has helped me understand more about the different aspects of risk-taking and investing through personally trading with virtual funds.”

Marketing and Business Analytics student, Jiang, says, “The CMC Markets Trading Challenge was also my first time coming into contact with CFD trading and speculating different assets in the financial market through this platform. It was a challenging yet rewarding experience that has helped to further develop my critical thinking skills.”

Coming in second place was third-year Civil Engineering student, Harry Ye, with a 71.67 percent ROI using a high-risk strategy.

Ye says, “During the competition, I learned for the first time how to use a trading platform like CMC Markets to place trades in the markets - it was a challenging but very rewarding experience. I made very risky trades with high leverage to accelerate my ROI, and it paid off in the end thanks to the favourable market conditions.

“This whole experience has been invaluable to me as it has made me realise the multitude of risks involved in short term trading and the mental fortitude that is needed to be profitable over the long term. The mistakes that I have made will stay with me and be a reminder to always be watchful of our own emotions when trading.”

In third place was sixth-year, Accounting and Finance Honours student, Harry Jongbi Park, with a ROI of 69.55 percent.

Park says, “I thought the CMC Markets platform was relatively easy to learn, and I also very much enjoyed the wide variety of products that I was allowed to trade. I highly recommend everyone to give it a go next year.

“It was a great opportunity for me to test out my finance knowledge and skills without much downside risk. Trading on the CMC Markets platform over the course of three weeks gave me great insights on how financial markets behave in real life and allowed me to develop some qualitative skills such as taking calculated risks, being disciplined and cutting losses.”

Chris Smith, General Manager at CMC Markets New Zealand, says, “We’ve seen a surge in Kiwis wanting to invest and learn about the markets caused by volatile financial markets and the increase of retail traders during the Covid-19 environment. The rise of fintech share investing apps has also raised awareness and understanding of the markets. We’re pleased to be able to give our next generation of investors and traders the opportunity to experiment and learn in a risk-free environment and gain further understanding of the global markets, from FX to shares to commodities.”

Tribhuvan Krishnan and Daniel Vaz, Finance Event Leads of MCC, say, “The 2020 competition had one of the highest participation rates and reflects the positive attitude that students are showing with regards to exploring financial markets. It was exciting to see how students navigated the dynamic financial markets with lucrative opportunities arising in gold and the Nasdaq. We were motivated by the diverse academic backgrounds of our participants, with many experiencing trading for the first time. This is testament to the exceptional functionality of the CMC platform and its ability to cater to a wide range of users. We look forward to working with CMC Markets in the future and delivering another successful competition."

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