Ninety students from a dozen universities wrapped up their final trades in style, with some earning returns higher than 50 percent in the Texas A&M Inter-University Financial Trading Competition hosted this fall by Mays’ Reliant Energy Securities & Commodities Trading Center.

Students from such schools as Penn State, the University of Toronto and Texas A&M competed individually from their schools in October, mock trading in two sessions over the course of the month on a Global Forex Trading (GFT) platform that streams live price data for 60 foreign exchange pairings. They were each granted $50,000 in mock accounts to execute trades and had to factor in real-world news events that affected the foreign exchange market as part of their trading strategy.

Just like traders in the real world, prize money is distributed according to performance—winnings are based on a student’s percentage return in relation to first place in each division. Undergraduate and graduate divisions each split $3,000. Top winners in the undergraduate division included Penn State’s Bret Crell, Toronto’s Shenguan Yang and Villanova’s Aaron Juratovac. Top winners in the graduate division are Alexander Dean of Fairfield, Arpit Sheth of Renssalaer Polytechnic and Tai Hong (Steven) Leung from Toronto.

Now in its second year, the inter-university competition grew from a field of six schools and 30 students finishing the competition in 2005 to 14 participating schools and 90 students this year. GFT’s trading software allows students to trade in the same environment as hedge fund managers and other professional traders who trade currencies to profit from fluctuating foreign exchange rates.

The international competition, organized by professors in Mays’ Reliant Trading Center, develops skills of undergraduate and graduate students interested in fundamental trading, technical trading and foreign exchange rates.

“We’re succeeding at enabling students to trade with confidence,” says Detlef Hallermann, organizer and program leader for Mays’ Reliant Energy Securities and Commodities Trading Center.