RIT secures top spot in North America, third globally in Bloomberg 2023 Global Trading Challenge

Interdisciplinary team of trading students part of Saunders College of Business club

Traci Westcott

From left, Alexandria Walker, Evan Macko, and Carter Ptak made up an interdisciplinary team of RIT students that finished No. 1 in North America and third globally in the Bloomberg 2023 Global Trading Challenge.

An interdisciplinary team of RIT students finished No. 1 in North America and third globally in the Bloomberg 2023 Global Trading Challenge, marking the first time the university has participated in the international competition. 

Carter Ptak (software engineering), Evan Macko (finance), and Alexandria Walker (computer science) comprised the “Tigers Trading” team in the competition, which included 2,007 teams from 310 universities in 38 countries conducting simulated investing over six weeks.

The team—supported by faculty advisor and finance professor Hao Zhang—came together as members of the Financial Management Association (FMA), a Saunders College of Business club open to all students at the university.

“I was definitely thrilled,” said Ptak, the team’s captain, from Portland, Ore. “We worked very hard, and I personally spent many hours researching so I was very happy to see that work pay off.”

The trading challenge is the only university investment competition that solely relies upon Bloomberg Terminals in support of optimized business solutions. At RIT, the terminals are a featured resource within the Sklarsky Center for Business Analytics Center at Saunders College, combining industry-standard tools for financial trading with Saunders’ strengths across finance and analytics.

Ptak said the RIT team placed trades over six weeks using $1 million of virtual money, with the goal to generate the largest possible return. “We were only allowed to trade specific stocks as set by Bloomberg—10,000 of the world’s biggest companies,” he observed. “All trades had to be placed through the Terminals.”

“I definitely learned a lot about using the Bloomberg Terminals—none of us had experience on it before this, but throughout the course of the competition we learned the power of the Terminals,” added Ptak, a second-year student.

He credited the “unique composition” of RIT’s team for its success in the competition. “Our team had a software engineering major, a computer science major, and a finance major, which is unusual for a competition like this, and I think that benefited us,” he said. “The diversity of education on our team was essential in allowing us to think outside of the box when making trading decisions.”

“To win against 2,000 other teams, we knew that we couldn’t think like traditional investors, and having a mix of finance and non-finance majors allowed us to do that,” he added.

Zhang hopes the group’s impressive performance in the competition will increase both visibility for the FMA club—made up of students who come from both business and technical backgrounds—and RIT students’ interest in investing and finance.

“These students did a fantastic job,” said Zhang, a 2019 recipient of the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching, who has served as the club’s advisor for the last decade. “They were able to come up with a trading strategy based on technical analysis, worked diligently to search relevant information through Bloomberg Terminals, and then implemented the strategy successfully.”

Eddie Ditomasso, the FMA club’s president at RIT, said he was “thrilled for the team and proud of them for the effort they put forth,” and to see club members from different RIT colleges take an interest and excel in finance.

“I attribute the team’s success to a blend of hard work and effective communication,” said Ditomasso, a fourth-year finance and management information systems (MIS) double major from northern New Jersey. “This is a great example of how we help our club members learn valuable financial skills.”

“The team’s success also reflects the quality of education and resources provided by RIT and Saunders College of Business,” added Zhang, who also serves as the director of the BS in finance and MS in finance programs. “The curriculum, faculty, and access to cutting-edge tools, like Bloomberg Terminals, equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in real-world scenarios.”

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