A month-long, interuniversity competition hosted by Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and Global Forex Trading (GFT) concluded on October 31. Only one student took home the grand prize, but each of the nearly 300 participants from 16 schools in three nations came away from the competition with something highly valuable: real-world experience in global finance.

GFT, the world-leading provider of real-time currency dealing, pricing and comprehensive services for retail and institutional foreign exchange traders, provided each competition participant with a simulated trading account of $50,000. Students used their fake funds to invest in global currencies using real-time data with the goal of increasing their accounts as much as possible over the course of the competition. Students had available to them all the same tools as professional traders.

Students were required to keep a trade journal listing each trade placed, the reason for placing the trade and the result after closing out the trade. For many students, this journal was also part of a classroom grade, as several of the participating schools have incorporated the competition into their finance students’ curriculum.

The individual winner of the trade competition was former Mays student Brazos Lackey, who grew his account 501 percent. Second place went to Zeeshan Khan from Penn State, showing 264.5 percent growth. Third place was Mays student Joshua Groner, with account growth of 251.6 percent.

Of the school’s participating, Fairfield University had the highest average growth for their team of students. Fairfield was the only team to have a positive average percent return collectively.

“The credit crisis made the markets highly volatile,” said Detlef Hallermann, assistant clinical professor of finance at Mays. Hallermann has coordinated the competition each year since its inception four years ago. “This period that the competition took place in was the most volatile month in history. The currencies were bouncing all over the place,” he said, which gave students a wild ride as they tried to predict trends and make smart investments.

“It was a great experience,” said second place winner, Groner, a junior finance major from Midland, Texas. “I learned a lot about myself and whether or not I could handle the pressure of watching the market going up and down. If someone wants to do finance for a living, they’ve got to be able to deal with making a lot of money one day and losing a lot the next.” Groner said the experience solidified his plans to pursue investment banking after graduating, though he says the current financial crisis does have him worried about his job prospects. “I’m just hoping that everything will settle down before I graduate,” he says.

The winner of the competition, Kahn will receive a $10,000 Forex trading account that he can invest with for six months, retaining any revenues he creates in that time. Last year, Mays student Vipin Sethi took the top spot in the competition.

About Mays Business School

Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. Mays is nationally ranked among public business schools for the quality of its undergraduate program, MBA program and the faculty scholarship of its 110 professors in five departments.

About GFT

Founded in 1997, Global Forex Trading (GFT) is a world-leading provider of real-time currency dealing, pricing and comprehensive services for retail and institutional foreign exchange traders. GFT has served a global customer base in more than 120 countries through its DealBook® 360, DealBook® WEB and DealBook® Mobile trading software and 24—hour dealing desk operation. The company’s world headquarters is based in Ada, Michigan, with global offices located in Chicago, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Australia and London (London office operated through GFT Global Markets UK Ltd.). More information about GFT can be found at www.gftforex.com.