Dolan School student takes top honors in global currency trading competition

Dolan School student takes top honors in global currency trading competition

Image: Alexander Dean Alexander Dean, a graduate student in The Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University, rose every day before 3 a.m. this past October so he wouldn't lose his shirt.

As a competitor in the Texas A&M Inter-University Forex Trading Competition, he had to keep up with his trades of international currency in the foreign exchange market that opens before dawn. That meant staying up on the latest news, studying charts, making momentum buys and undertaking technical analysis. Mere seconds in trading can mean the loss or gain of big money, so traders have to be ready to capitalize on the constant changes of the market.

All Dean's sleepless nights paid off. He was the winner of the competition, making the most money in mock foreign exchange trading.

Hosted by Texas A&M's Mays Business School's Reliant Energy Securities and Commodities Trading Center, 90 students from 14 universities took part in making mock trades of international currencies. The students, both undergrads and graduate students, used Global Forex Trading (GFT) software that streams live price data for 60 foreign exchanges, according to Texas A&M. Each student started off with $50,000 in a mock account to make trades, while calculating in real news events that in some cases can greatly impact in a matter of moments the foreign exchange market.

Dean won $1,328 in prize money, access for six months to a $10,000 Global Forex Trading account, and many kudos for his 74.9 percent rate of return on his trades of the English pound. His closest competitors had respectively 51% and 39.9% rates of return.

Although students competed individually, there was a team trophy awarded to the university whose students collectively earned the highest overall return on equity. Penn State received that honor, with Fairfield's Dolan School team coming in fourth. In the homestretch of the competition, Fairfield's team was in first place among 17 teams.

Dean, who earned a B.S. in finance from the Dolan School in 2005, believes he won the competition because of lessons learned there, ignoring his self-doubts and going with his gut. "The biggest time I lost money was when I became afraid and I pulled my money out of the market," said the Long Island native. "Like my father says, 'You've got to go big or go home.' You can't be afraid, you just have to stick it out."

Michael T. Tucker, D.B.A., professor of finance at the Dolan School, oversaw Fairfield students in the competition, believing it would serve as a great lesson.

The competition helped students develop skills in fundamental trading, technical trading and foreign exchange rates. The Forex trading software employed by students mirrors that used by hedge fund managers and other professional traders who trade currencies to profit from fluctuating foreign exchange rates, according to Texas A&M.

Dean has his eye on working as a trader after completing his M.S. in Finance. He might not have to look too hard for a job, though. Word is that Morgan Stanley asked for the resumes of the top students in the competition. In the meantime, Dean has some advice for next year's competitors. "You can have all the charts and numbers to prove you're right, but the market tells you something else," he said. "I would say to anyone, look at your charts when trading but don't be afraid of the big moves in the market."

Posted On: 11-20-2006 10:11 AM

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