Trading on currencies in a foreign exchange market characterized by volatility can turn profits to losses in seconds. That’s what John Corley, a finance major, learned this fall as he scrutinized the market to execute mock trades in the school’s first-ever Inter-University Financial Trading Competition.

Corley took third place, adding $4,693 — or a 9 percent return — to his original $50,000 mock account and executing 15 to 20 trades during the month-long competition. The December 2005 graduate this month joined Constellation Energy in Baltimore as an analyst in origination. Though he says he probably just got lucky in his first trading competition, he explained his approach in strategy gleaned from Mays classes and put to the test in the mock trades. It’s a real-life skills set he took with him to help understand business at Constellation.

“You learn how people trade, what they look for in valuing a company and what big events in the news affect trading,” Corley explains. “Overall, it’s a good lesson on how to monitor everything around you and react to changes.”

Students from eight schools in the United States and Canada competed for cash prizes in the trading event, completing simulated trades in the foreign exchange market on a Global Forex Trading platform. In the end, those with the biggest returns claimed prizes of up to $1,000.

Students were required to make a minimum of five trades in each of three trading sessions, factoring in shifts in the market and live news events as they planned and tailored their trading approach. Texas A&M students also had access to the real-time and historical financial resources at the Reliant Energy Securities and Commodities Trading Center at Mays.

“This is another component of the Reliant Trade Center’s mission to develop students so that they leave A&M with a decided advantage over their peers, especially when it comes to stock and commodity trading and risk management,” says Finance Department Head David Blackwell.