Inter-University Virtual trading competition at USEK
Posted on 23/06/2016

Editor: Danielle Issa, Beirutista


The Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) hosted an inter-university virtual trading competition in June to test students for their knowledge of global financial markets. Five major academic institutions participated, notably USEK, NDU, AUB, Sagesse and Beirut Arab University, each represented by five finance students.

Using the StockTrak online trading platform to execute trades, students were granted $1M in virtual capital to construct portfolios tapping a variety of investment categories, including stocks, bonds, commodities, futures, options and exchange-traded funds. Orders could be placed on US and European exchanges five days a week, with a minimum required 21 trades during the competition period.

Bank of Beirut offered the top three winners cash prizes of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 at an awards ceremony held in the newly-dedicated USEK Dealing Room, which is sponsored by both the Bank and Thomson Reuters.

Hrag Bedoyan, a sixth-year student triple-majoring in finance, economics, and mathematics at AUB, snatched first place. Bedoyan taught himself both fundamental and technical analysis, methods whose combination he uses actively to trade. He hopes to graduate to a career at a boutique investment firm where he can meaningfully manage private funds.

Firas Hachache, who is a sophomore in USEK’s finance program, claimed second prize. Hachache first got involved in the stock market at 18, thanks to concurrent employment as a stock broker for a financial intermediary in downtown Beirut. His dream is to join the fast-paced world of high-frequency trading on Wall Street.

The inter-university contest is the brainchild of Dr. Mario Sassine, Chairperson of the Finance Department, who comes from a background of corporate governance and performance management. His aim is to incorporate more universities in future editions of the virtual trading standoff and to foster student appreciation for the ever-evolving financial markets.

Dr. Charbel Salloum, Associate Dean for Research at USEK’s School of Business, also assisted in coordinating the competition. Teaching courses in financial markets, portfolio management, technical analysis and research methodology, he holds an array of certifications from the New York Stock Exchange and Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Dr. Salloum is himself a USEK graduate and readily relates to the challenges his students face.

Bank of Beirut wishes all participants of the virtual trading competition the best in their collegiate and professional pursuits, and it continues to stand by its firm belief in higher education.

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