Duke Financial Economics Center

The DFE aspires to broaden the opportunities for all Duke students to learn about the many different aspects of the financial markets in an extracurricular setting. Each educational competition is sponsored by a financial firm. The competitions begin early in the spring and are open to all Duke sophomores on campus, regardless of major. Students must be on campus to participate.

Duke undergraduates are invited to join the DFE email list to receive notifications about DFE competitions and activities.

Upcoming Competitions


Spring 2017 Morgan Stanley Trading Game

Registration for this competition is now closed.

The Trading Game, sponsored by Morgan Stanley, enables students to learn about trading, portfolio management, and risk and return by trading a portfolio of global securities throughout the fall semester. Game participants gain intimate knowledge of the movements of major financial markets and experience the thrills and spills of developing losing and winning trading strategies. Students who are considering applying for summer finance internships will find the Trading Game helpful as a way to get in the practice of watching the markets. All Duke sophomores are eligible to participate.

Via the Stockfuse online platform, the Trading Game runs from Monday, January 23 to Friday, April 21. Trading takes place on a semi-real time basis during market hours only (9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). All participants in the game will be able to observe their own and everyone else's rankings at any point during the course of the game. (Each trader creates a username, so everyone is anonymous.)

The top trader for each of the game’s three periods (January 23 – February 17, February 20 – March 10, March 20 – April 21) will receive a prize from Morgan Stanley. The grand winner of the game will be awarded an informational interview in New York. Morgan Stanley will announce the winners of the game and award prizes at the lunch they host during Spring Networking Days on Monday, May 8.

Game Rules
  1. To participate, you must be on campus (not studying away) during the spring 2017 semester.
  2. You may only trade a pre-selected group of assets. All of these are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that mimic the returns of some U.S. and global equity indices, bonds, commodities, and currencies. If you try to trade any other asset, the trade will be rejected and you will receive an alert.
  3. The game will have risk limits that will affect the extent to which traders may borrow money and/or short sell the ETFs.
  4. It is not possible to trade options in this game.
  5. You will be able to trade as frequently as you wish while markets are open. (You will not be able to trade while markets are closed.) Note, however, that there will be a 20-minute delay on all trading prices within the game. This is intended to discourage ''day trading.''
  6. Each time you initiate a new trade, you must include a comment that explains your rationale, including your stop loss and take-profit levels.
  7. All traders must complete a trading journal for each period to document their trades and strategies. Trading journals will be due by 5 p.m. on the last day of each period (February 17, March 10, and April 21). The journal should consist of one paragraph maximum describing your best idea for the period, what you wish you had done differently, and any other takeaways. Students who do not submit a trading journal for a given period cannot win the game for that period.
Risk Limits and Buying Power

Risk Limits

  • Each trader begins with a cash position of $100,000. You may use this cash to purchase any of the ETFs in the pre-selected group.
  • Traders may also borrow money on margin, using their existing ETFs as collateral, subject to buying power risk limits (see below).
  • Traders may also short sell (i.e., sell ETFs that you don't already own), again, subject to buying power risk limits.

Buying Power

  • Your buying power is a dollar amount, reported at all times at the top of your dashboard in Stockfuse, alongside your account value, cash balance, and realized P&L. Buying power is calculated as cash + long positions x 50% – short positions x 150%.
  • Your buying power must remain positive (>0). If it goes negative, you will receive an alert, instructing you to “cover” shorts or sell long positions to make your buying power positive again. If you don't do this yourself within a couple of days, Stockfuse will automatically liquidate part of your portfolio.
  • If you choose to short sell ETFs, be aware that this will significantly negatively impact your buying power because short selling is inherently riskier than buying.
  • Buying power changes over time as a result of changing market values of your long and short positions. Thus, if you have traded on margin at any time during the game, you should keep an eye on your buying power throughout the semester in case it goes negative.
Competitor Rankings and Game Winners

You can view all competitors' rankings by username on the leaderboard page. You cannot look at other traders' trades or portfolios. The winners will include the students who ranked highest for each period plus a grand winner. Ties will be broken based on the quality of trading journals and the creativity of usernames.


Spring 2017 Goldman Sachs Trade Pitch Competition

This spring the DFE hosted a trade pitch competition with sponsor Goldman Sachs. The main objective was for students to learn how to create and justify a trade idea on behalf of a hedge fund. Sophomores from all majors were invited to participate.

Congratulations to our winners!

First Place: Brad Comisar, Jake Diamantis, Chip Stern
Second Place: Steve Ai, Kevin Bhimani, Alex Gerrese
Third Place: Julia Li, Courtney Schwartz, and Leah Tobin
Honorable Mention: Ben Ezroni, Ed Paranjpe, Ben Yang


Spring 2017 Morgan Stanley Equity Research Competition

Registration for this competition is now closed.

Morgan Stanley and the DFE invite all Duke sophomores to participate in the Equity Research Competition. In round 1, students in teams of two submit one slide that proposes a "long" or "short" investment thesis on the stock of their choice. The teams with the most compelling ideas (as deemed by Morgan Stanley judges) will move on to round 2, in which they present to a Morgan Stanley panel on Tuesday, March 28. A reception at the Washington Duke for all participants will follow the presentations.


Spring 2017 Deutsche Bank Game Show

Registration for this competition is now closed.

In April, Deutsche Bank will sponsor an on-campus University Challenge-style game show competition for Duke sophomores. A total of 48 applicants, in self-selected teams of four, will be chosen to compete. The quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final round of the game show are scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday, April 4, followed by a reception for all contestants.

The Deutsche Bank Game Show is open to all Duke sophomores, regardless of major or intended major.

Game Show Content

Quiz questions will be pulled from a range of finance- and business-related categories, the vast majority of which will not require any formal background or coursework in economics or finance. Most of the questions will be based on financial market research articles and magazine and newspaper articles that will be specified in advance. Preparation for the game show will be valuable for students planning to interview in the fall for summer finance internships.

The game show will follow the format of the British University Challenge, with starter questions and follow-up questions.


Students should form their own teams of four. You are encouraged (but not required) to form teams that include at least one economics major. The application form will include seven quiz questions. The first 12 teams to score 100% on the quiz will be invited to participate in the game show, so you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Teams may only submit their registration once. (Once you have submitted, you cannot resubmit if you subsequently discover that one or more of your answers to the quiz were incorrect.)

Teams will be informed during the second week of March if they have been selected to participate.


Spring 2017 BlackRock Asset Allocation Competition

Registration for this competition is now closed.

The Asset Allocation Competition, sponsored by BlackRock, is intended to help students learn more about the portfolio allocation process within the asset management group of a large financial institution. The spring 2017 competition is scheduled for the afternoon and early evening of Wednesday, April 12.

Competition Details

Imagine that you are a portfolio manager for an asset management firm that offers a range of investment funds for many different types of individuals and institutions. As a portfolio manager for one particular "class" of funds, you are responsible for determining the allocation of different assets within your portfolio for a one-year horizon; specifically, what percentage of the overall value of your fund is invested in each asset. Your goal is to meet or exceed a target rate of return goal for your portfolio, ideally with as low volatility (standard deviation of returns) as possible.

The Asset Allocation Competition is open to all Duke sophomores, who will self-select into teams of three. You are encouraged to form teams that include at least one student who has taken Econ 372: Intermediate Finance. It is not necessary for all team members to have taken this class. Students with majors other than economics and finance are warmly invited to participate.

Teams participating in the competition will be provided extensive guidelines and a spreadsheet model to facilitate the asset allocation process. Your team will be expected to create a presentation that summarizes your asset allocation decision. The creators of the ten best presentations will be invited to make brief presentations to a panel of BlackRock representatives. There will then be a reception for all teams that submitted reports. The winning teams will be announced and prizes awarded at the reception.