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CNU Team Tops 81 Universities to Win Bloomberg Trading Challenge

Captains showcase investing skills in defeating nearly 100 other undergraduate and graduate-level teams.

  Thursday, May 16, 2019
David Brynda and Clay Miller
David Brynda (left) and Clay Miller

A Christopher Newport University team won the 2019 Bloomberg Trading Challenge, a national competition that tests the investment skills of 266 teams from 81 universities, including both graduate- and undergraduate-level teams.

The CNU team, representing the Joseph W. Luter, III School of Business, created one of the top performing portfolios during the first stage of the competition. They bested teams from Princeton, Columbia and other top universities en route to being selected as one of seven finalists.

For the final stage of the competition, students David Brynda, Mark Pilipczuk, Clay Miller, Alex Freeman and Brendan Lyons went to Bloomberg’s global headquarters in New York City to present their strategy to a panel of market specialists. The students are all members of Christopher Newport’s Captains’ Educational and Enrichment (CEE) Fund, the student-run investment club that manages a portion of the university’s endowment.

“The knowledge we gain from our involvement with the CEE Fund gave us confidence going into the competition,” says Miller, a senior finance major. “The experience we already had using Bloomberg terminals was instrumental to our success.”

In the Bloomberg Trading Challenge, student teams use a Bloomberg terminal to build and manage a portfolio with a beginning value of $1 million.

“Our success in this competition was largely due to the ability to apply our strategy in the real world. We did an excellent job explaining the scalability, risk factors and how to mitigate these risks,” says Brynda, a senior finance major and the team's leader. “The judges also loved that we created an investment policy statement and thoroughly explained the reasoning for every trade we made during the competition.”

The students also credit their success to their participation in other global investment competitions throughout the year, such as the CFA Institute Research Challenge and Peeptrade Investment Challenge.

“This is a monumental accomplishment and demonstrates the quality of the education and preparation our students received here,” says Luter School of Business Dean George Ebbs. "The faculty helped the students reschedule and take all of their final exams early so that they could make the trip to New York."

"It is great to see our students apply their knowledge from the finance curriculum to a real-world scenario and succeed on such a high level,” says Dr. Niazur Rahim, Accounting and Finance Department chair and, along with Ebbs, an adviser to the team.

Not only did the students compete, but they also received career advice from Bloomberg executives and were exposed to career opportunities with Bloomberg. A $2,500 donation from Bloomberg will also be given to a charity of the students’ choice in their names.

“The major reward we received from the competition was the opportunity to network with executives at Bloomberg” says Pilipczuk, a junior finance and accounting major. “Having connections in New York is extremely valuable going into a career in finance. “

The Luter School and Bloomberg have a long relationship. The first floor of the school features a state-of-the-art trading room with 10 Bloomberg terminals that students use for the CEE Fund and their finance coursework.

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