Baruch Traders, Cool and Disciplined, Slice Up the Top-Name Competition  

For the Baruch College students, it’s a familiar scene: A trading floor buzzing with adrenaline, the sound of furious tapping on keyboards, shouts of “Yay” and “Oh, my God” as millions are gained and lost in the securities market.

But when these Baruch students exit the trading floor, they leave as profit-making winners. Out-maneuvering schools including Columbia and Princeton, Baruch’s trading teams took the top slot in three recent prestigious, student trading competitions where the millions were imaginary, but the stakes high.

“The proud legacy of CUNY students counts 13 Nobel Prizes and innumerable honors for historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields,” Chancellor James B. Milliken said.  “By now, that CUNY students can compete successfully with the best and brightest from some of the world’s most highly regarded universities should be a surprise to no one.  But that in no way diminishes our enormous pride in these extraordinarily talented young people and the work of the faculty, administrators and staff at Baruch.  Congratulations to all on a job exceedingly well done.”

Dr. Mitchel B. Wallerstein, President of Baruch College said that “We are very proud of our Baruch traders, who exemplify the smarts, grit, and tenacity of all our students. Their outstanding success at these rigorous national and international competitions also reflects the excellence and inspiration of the teaching and training they receive from the Baruch faculty.  Moreover, these wins are another example of the achievements of our students in many other areas, including this year’s record-breaking number of Fulbright Awards, prestigious fellowships and internships, as well as job placements across all sectors in top companies and institutions.”

The Baruch trading teams’ most recent victory was in April, when a four-student team from the undergraduate Baruch Traders Club, which started two years ago, won first place in the fifth annual, University of Chicago Midwest Trading Competition, beating 29 teams from schools including Columbia, Dartmouth, M.I.T., Northwestern, New York University, Princeton and Chicago.

The all-day event, held at the University of Chicago, is the nation’s premier algorithmic trading competition, attracting undergraduates from top schools in Canada and the U.S.

At the events, teams compete in fast-paced simulated trading that challenges the technical and programming abilities of the students, who receive “cases” and trading rules in advance so they can devise strategies and codes before they hit the trading floor.

In the Chicago contest, Baruch’s team – Yifan Hu ’19, studying financial mathematics; Jaime Abbariao ’17, math; Bell Chen ’17, math; and Dmitriy Treyger ’17, statistics and quantitative modeling – won both rounds of Options Market Making and placed fourth in the Pairs Trading case.

In February, four graduate students from Baruch’s Master of Science in Financial Engineering program – the top program of its kind in the country – joined by two undergraduates who were among the winners of the Traders@MIT competition in November 2016, scored a third victory for Baruch at the University of Toronto’s 14th   annual Rotman International Trading Competition.

The Rotman, says Dan Stefanica, co-director of the Baruch program, is the “unofficial world championship of academic trading.” The win, over 51 institutions including Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, and University of Toronto, marked the second consecutive victory for Baruch following its record-breaking success in 2016. Baruch first won the top Rotman prize in 2012. This year’s winning students were Bell Chen ’17, Hongshan Chu, Qinkai Mao, Dimitriy Treyger ’17, Zhaoyue (Robert) Wei, and Gongshun (Gordon) Yin.

November 2016 saw another win for the undergraduates. Three two-person teams from the Baruch Traders Club swept the Ninth Annual Traders@MIT Fall Intercollegiate Competition, placing first, second and third against more than 90 students from 12 schools including M.I.T., Harvard and Yale. The winning Baruch teams in the M.I.T. contest were first place, Bell Chen ’17 and Kevin Cheng ’17; second, Raymond Wong ’17 and Lirek Kulik ’18; and third, Dmitriy Treyger ’17 and Mike Szczepankiewicz ’17.

The Baruch Traders Club was created in April 2015. Its faculty adviser, Jarrod Pickens, a math lecturer who has coached the undergraduate and graduate-student teams to success, said, “It just goes to show how dedicated and prepared our students were, and how well they were able to stick to the strategy that they developed.”

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 272,000 degree-seeking students.  College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 400 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.

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