Competitions

DFE's sponsored competitions allow Duke students to the learn about the range of roles in the financial markets through hands-on, team-driven experiences. We partner with a financial firm for each competition, creating opportunities for students to receive feedback on their work from finance professionals. All Duke sophomores on campus, regardless of major, are eligible to participate. Students must be on campus to participate.

Duke undergraduates are invited to join the DFE email list to receive information about DFE competitions and activities, including notifications about competition guidelines and registration.

DFE Trading Game (Fall Semester)

The DFE Trading Game enables sophomores to learn about trading, portfolio management, and risk and return by trading a simulated 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 Stockfuse, the Trading Game runs from Tuesday, September 8 to Friday, November 13. 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 game will have three winners: the top trader for each of the game’s two periods (September 8 – October 9 and October 12 – November 13) and the overall top trader.

Game Rules

  1. 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.
  2. The game will have risk limits that will affect the extent to which traders may borrow money and/or short sell the ETFs.
  3. It is not possible to trade options in this game.
  4. 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.''
  5. Each time you initiate a new trade, you must include a comment that explains your rationale, including your stop loss and take-profit levels.
  6. All traders must complete a monthly trading journal to document their trades and strategies. Trading journals will be due by 5 p.m. on the last day of each period (October 9 and November 13). 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. To be eligible to be the grand winner, students must submit journals for both periods.

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.

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Wells Fargo Corporate Valuation Competition (Fall Semester)

This fall DFE invites sophomores of all majors to participate in a corporate valuation competition sponsored by Wells Fargo. Participating in this competition enhances students understanding of how investment banks value corporations as part of deal activity such as mergers, acquisitions, and LBOs. It is valuable for students interested in all roles in the financial markets. The top 10 teams will present their trades to a panel of visitors from Wells Fargo on Thursday, November 5.

Register for the competition between Monday, September 28 and Friday, October 2.

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BlackRock Asset Allocation Competition (Fall Semester)

The Asset Allocation Competition, sponsored by BlackRock, teaches students about the portfolio allocation process. The competition requires participants to imagine themselves as portfolio managers for an asset management firm that offers a range of investment funds for many different types of individuals and institutions. All Duke sophomores were invited to participate. The top teams will present to a panel of BlackRock representatives on Tuesday, November 10.

Registration for the competition will be open from Monday, October 12 to Friday, October 16.

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Goldman Sachs Trade Pitch Competition (Spring Semester)

The objective of this spring semester competition is for students to learn how to create and justify a trade idea on behalf of a hedge fund. Students work in self-selected teams of three to propose a unique trade (buying and/or short-selling specific securities) and create a presentation with an explanation of the trade thesis. The top 10 teams are invited to present their trade idea to a panel of Goldman investment professionals. Duke sophomores from all majors are invited to participate.

This competition is offered in collaboration with the Duke Investment Club.

Spring 2020 Winners:

1st Place: Enoch Kuan, William Ramundo, George Samwick
2nd Place: Anastasia Parafestas, George Sanchez, Smiti Shah
3rd Place: Kevin Chao, Daniel Hepworth, David Xian

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