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The winning team: Nicholas Moses, Enrique Ibarra, Ross Kreiger, Stephen Matson, and John Horrigan
July 4, 2017

UMass Boston team wins national Bloomberg Trading Challenge

  • Boston
College of Management team beats out 265 teams from 81 universities in first-ever competition

Five students in the College of Management teamed up last month to win the national Bloomberg Trading Challenge.

The competition attracted 266 teams from 81 colleges and universities across the United States, including Ivy League schools such as Princeton, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania. Students John Horrigan, Enrrique Ibarra, Ross Krieger, Stephen Matson, and Nicholas Moses—all management majors with concentrations in finance—represented UMass Boston. The team was guided by professors Arindam Bandopadhyaya and Atreya Chakraborty, who served as the faculty sponsors.

“They found their team and ran it by me,” Bandopadhyaya said. “My main role was to ensure that whatever they were supposed to do, that they were investing within the guidelines that they were prescribed.”

The competition was announced by Bloomberg via its trading platform, which the College of Management uses. The first round of the competition lasted eight weeks, during which participants executed trades in real time using Bloomberg’s platform.

“The whole part of the exercise was to sit in front of these terminals and be executing trades. The market opens at 9:30 a.m. and stays open until 4 p.m., so somebody among these five participants had to be sitting in front of a terminal,” Bandopadhyaya said.

As the weeks went by, UMass Boston’s team consistently placed among the top-performing teams, At the end of the first round, UMass Boston was holding down a spot in the top three, alongside Penn and the University of Washington.

“Every week that went by, we realized that, ‘Wow, we’re doing pretty well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Ibarra said.

As a top-three team, UMass Boston was invited to participate in a daylong event at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York City. Each team gave a presentation about their investment strategy and participated in a question-and-answer session with Bloomberg executives. At the end of the day, the UMass Boston students were announced as the winners of the competition.

“We were lucky because a lot of our teachers like Professor Callahan, Professor Bando were super supportive [and] really encouraging to us,” said Horrigan.

“I was in a daze that lasted for a week. I joked with my group that, let’s get out of here quickly before they change their minds,” said Bandopadhyaya. “For me, the big prize for these guys is, you know, to tell and prove that this is something we here at UMass Boston are capable of doing. As Nick told me, ‘you give us the right tools, we can compete with anybody.’ So, that I think, is the big prize for them, to be able to tell for now and the rest of their lives that they participated in this and won.”

Bandopadhyaya was not surprised that his students won the competition as he was convinced they were the winners after he saw their presentation.

“The whole experience was pretty epic…. I think it comes back to being at UMass Boston. We were competing against some really, really good schools. [Bloomberg’s platform provided] so much data that as long as you’re putting in the work, you’re going to come out on top,” said Ibarr