Trading challenge winds down

The Muma College of Business trading challenge began in September as a competition between students within the college. The student with the most valuable portfolio by Friday will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship. ORACLE PHOTO/MIKI SHINE

With the semester coming to a close, scholarship deadlines for future semesters are approaching. But students in the Muma College of Business hoping to receive one particular scholarship have been competing for the privilege for over 2 months. 

The Muma Trading Challenge, which is hosted by TD Ameritrade and sponsored by Mezrah Consulting, began in early September. The student with the highest account value on Friday will win a $1,000 scholarship.

Students who registered began the competition with $1 million in “Paper Money.” And according to Daniel Bradley, chair of the finance department in the Muma College of Business and organizer of the challenge, the last few months have been turbulent for participants.

“We’ve had a very volatile market over the last semester,” Bradley said. “So when you get that volatility, the positions tend to move up and down.”

With the challenge wrapping up, participating students are making their last trades and the standings are almost set. While many who signed up actively traded and participated, others did not.

“441 (students) have signed up,” Bradley said. “I would say probably about half of those, so far, have been active. … (But) we’re going to do it again next semester.”

Currently, the challenge is regulated by strict rules with regard to buying and selling. Participants can only buy certain stocks called securities, which include stocks, bonds and mutual funds, according to

On the challenge website, there is a list of eligible 545 securities from which to choose.

Bradley said next semester’s challenge could take one of three forms.

“Either, we’re going to run two simultaneous trading challenges — one for business students, one for non-business students,” he said. “(Or) we’re going to combine everyone into one. Or we’re going to have one relaxing the other restrictions. We haven’t decided yet.”

Currently, the challenge website lists 9 rules ranging from the minimum number of required trades to qualify for the scholarship (25) to the maximum proportion of one’s portfolio each security can occupy (10 percent). 

Though the rule precludes single-security portfolios, an article in USA Today stated students interested in investing should diversify their investments.

Bradley said a relaxation of the restrictions in the next challenge would make it more difficult for participants, as there would be more options and decisions to make.

However, the date for the next challenge has not yet been chosen.

“It’s probably going to be somewhere in mid-January. We haven’t decided,” Bradley said. “And we’re also contemplating opening it up to everyone, anyone who’s a USF student.”

Currently, the website offers links to investments sites that would allow business and non-business students to research each security.

According to USA Today, students interested in investing should begin investing early and do extensive research beforehand.

The challenge will be over soon and the scholarship recipient decided, but students interested in participating next semester don’t have to wait until then to get started.

“If any students are interested in the financial markets, I would strongly encourage them to go to our web page,” Bradley said. “From there, they could either link up or — if they missed the date — there are other challenges that they could get involved in that just aren’t affiliated with our college.”