Fairfield University finance student takes second place in global currency trading competition


Andrew Rielly, a student in The Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University, placed second in a field of more than 100 competitors from 12 colleges and universities in a nationwide contest, the Texas A&M Inter-University Forex Trading Competition.

Rielly, a senior from Medford, N.J., took part in the mock trading competition to gain experience trading international currency in the foreign exchange market. "I really got into it. Late at night, I would be checking out the global markets. I applied a lot of technical, financial analyses in trading the Australian dollar, but I also used my intuition and wasn't afraid of risk."

Hosted by Texas A&M's Mays Business School’s Reliant Energy Securities and Commodities Trading Center, the contest had undergraduate and graduate students start off with $50,000 in simulated capital to make trades. The students then competed in the month-long contest to earn the highest rate of return on their $50,000 accounts, factoring in data such as real news events that can dramatically impact the market in a matter of moments. They also used Global Forex Trading (GFT) software that streams live price data for 60 foreign exchanges to inform their decisions.

Michael T. Tucker, D.B.A., professor of finance at the Dolan School, oversaw Fairfield students in the competition, believing it would test their knowledge and acumen as traders in the $3.2 trillion daily currency market. "Fairfield University again did very well this year, which is only our second time taking part. Andrew placed trades on GFT's DealBook 360 platform to grow his virtual currency trading account from $50,000 to $74,144, a 48.29 percent rate of return."

The winner was Texas A&M University student Vipin Sethi, who finished with nearly $90,000 of simulated capital in his account and a 78.64 percent rate of return. Last year, then Dolan School graduate student Alexander Dean won the competition, which Dr. Tucker has found to help students learn about the currency markets and develop their skills in fundamental trading, technical trading and foreign exchange rates. Dean, who earned both bachelor's and master's degrees from Fairfield, landed a trading job with UBS in large part due to his dual Fairfield degrees and impressive win.

Rielly, who recently was offered jobs with Lehman Brothers and UBS, noted, "I feel like what I've learned in my classes helped me. I'm grateful to Dr. Tucker. We also received daily e-mails from Brian Jennings, (the head of corporate Forex Sales, UBS Investment Bank), about the markets that proved very helpful."

Dr. Tucker invited Jennings to speak to students last semester in the Dolan School's high-tech Business Education Simulation & Trading (BEST) Classroom, a simulated trading floor that educates students about the volatility of the stock market and the dynamics of trading. Jennings sent Dolan School students daily updates on the Forex market - the same updates that UBS traders receive.

Students also gained some real life experience by using the Forex trading software, the type used by hedge fund managers and other professional traders who trade currencies to profit from fluctuating foreign exchange rates. To keep pace with the global markets, students had to rise long before dawn just as they would if they had jobs in the field.

Gary Tilkin, president and CEO of GFT, said in a press release that the competition is a great learning experience. "By pairing real-world experience with classroom instruction, this competition may help the students to be more prepared for successful careers in the global financial markets."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 8, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 177