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 information about DFE competitions and activities, including notifications about competition guidelines and registration.

Upcoming Competitions

Spring 2018 Morgan Stanley Trading Game

Registration for the Trading Game goes from Friday, January 12 to Friday, January 19.

The Trading Game, sponsored by Morgan Stanley, enables sophomores to learn about trading, portfolio management, and risk and return by trading a portfolio of global securities throughout the spring 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 22 to Friday, April 20. 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 22 – February 16, February 19 – March 9, March 19 – April 20) will receive a prize from Morgan Stanley. The grand winner of the game will be awarded an informational interview in New York.

Game Rules

  1. To participate, you must be on campus (not studying away) and a sophomore during the spring 2018 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 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 (February 16, March 9, and April 20). 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 all three 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. (Only the Game Administrator can do this.) 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 2018 Goldman Sachs Trade Pitch Competition

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

To learn more and register, go to this site. Registration closes at 5 PM on Friday, January 26.


Spring 2018 Morgan Stanley Stock Pitch Competition

This spring Morgan Stanley and the DFE will invite Duke sophomores to participate in the Stock Pitch Competition. Selected students, working in teams of two, will present a "long" or "short" investment thesis on the stock of their choice to a panel of Morgan Stanley professionals.

Students must be signed up for the DFE Email List to receive information about this competition, including the registration link.


Spring 2018 Deutsche Bank Game Show

For the eighth consecutive year, Deutsche Bank will sponsor an on-campus University Challenge-style game show competition for Duke sophomores. Twelve teams of students will answer quiz questions pulled from a range of business- and finance-related categories. Preparation for the Game Show will be valuable to students planning to interview for finance internships in the summer and fall.



Spring 2018 BlackRock Asset Allocation Competition

The Asset Allocation Competition, sponsored by BlackRock, is intended to help students learn more about the portfolio allocation process. The spring 2018 competition will take place in April and require 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. The goal is to meet or exceed a target rate of return, ideally with as low volatility as possible.

The competition will be open to all sophomores. The top ten teams will present to a panel of BlackRock representatives and enjoy a networking reception afterward.