April 8, 2013

The Rotman International Trading Competition

Post by:
Justin Tyo
MSMF 2014

Starting from where I left off on my last blog post, we finally arrived in the vivacious city of Toronto on Thursday, February 21st. From the airport, we directly went to The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management which was located in the heart of city. We enjoyed a nice opening reception and were able to meet the students from all around the world. Companies such as S&P Capital IQ, CIBC and Thomson Reuters gave presentations about what their companies do and the career opportunities available for the students in the competition. It was certainly a long day with class in the morning, our flight and the presentations. We headed back to our hotel to catch some shut-eye and get geared up for the ensuing two-day competition.

Some snapshots from the weekend at Toronto's Rotman School of Management

Early Friday morning, we arrived back at Rotman and were soon immersed in a fierce Mergers & Acquisitions case competition. The case was set up so that there were twelve companies (stocks) in distress where we had to take positions on companies that we felt would be acquired. We developed models and strategies over the last few weeks to ensure a consistent P&L. For each case in the competition, there were multiple heats where our P&Ls were aggregated so that this could differentiate the most consistent trading teams and eliminate the ones who got lucky once or twice.

The conclusion of an intense Mergers & Acquisitions case competition gave us a two hour break for lunch before the start of the Sales & Trading competition. Over that time, we received the results of the M&A case where we placed 15th out of 50th (not bad…eh?). Knowing that we were in the mix gave us even more motivation to be successful in the S&T case. Unfortunately, a little curveball was thrown our way when we found out the rules for the case. We were under the impression that there was going to be one trader and one analyst. Turns out, both students had to be a trader which was tough for us since our team members were not prepared to trade in cases that they thought they would be an analyst in. However, we managed to do our best through the S&T case (and Options Trading case) given what we had to work with.

After a short break, we went to the Quantitative Outcry case which was definitely the most exciting case for me. This case included two traders down on the floor (see picture above), one analyst and one risk manager up in the research lab behind the glass. The goal was for the analyst and risk manager to communicate with their teammates down on the trading floor telling them to either “buy” or “sell” futures on the index. On top of that, the risk manager needed to keep track of the trader’s futures position which was difficult because of the hectic atmosphere. I enjoyed being on the trading floor because I feel that the atmosphere would be similar to the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which is where I hope to work someday! Following the Quantitative Outcry case, we enjoyed a nice dinner sponsored by the University of Toronto and listened to a presentation by BP about the oil markets and the career opportunities within the company.

Given my experience with options, I was certainly looking forward to the Options Trading case on Saturday. Personally, my teammate Shamir and I finished Top 10 in a few Options Trading sub heats. This helped propel our team into the Top 15 in the case rankings and Top 20 overall rankings. However, after a slight mishap in the Commodities Trading case, we closed out the Rotman International Trading Competition in 26th place.

Being slightly disappointed in where we placed, I was excited to go to the awards ceremony at the famous CN Tower, located in downtown Toronto. It is one of the seven wonders of the modern world, with the observation deck 1,122 feet above the ground. It was an amazing venue for our reception. We enjoyed cocktails and conversation amongst some of the brightest minds in the world and reminisced on the highlights from the weekend.

View from below the CN Tower
On our flight home on Sunday, we were encouraged on how our exposure will positively affect the Boston University teams to come. I am hoping to be an Assistant Coach of next year’s team and fly to Toronto to help devise useful strategies with Dr. Ahmad Namini. He was such a positive influence to us and we are very grateful to him and the University for supporting our team in this competition.


Justin Tyo is a second semester Math Finance student who will be working at NextEra Energy in Juno Beach, Florida this summer. He will be implementing commodity hedging models for natural gas and oil on the options trading desk. Outside of work and academics, Justin enjoys playing golf and watching Michigan Basketball (Go Blue!).

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