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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Academics & Research

UH dominates at CME competition


UH participant Tin Vuong, pictured above, reacts to the market change in the CME competition. | Thao Pham/The Daily Cougar

UH students put on a strong showing at the Open Outcry Challenge, taking second, third, fourth and eighth place to earn monetary prizes in the competition.

“Having so many students place in the top five is a sign that the University is training people to be competitive anywhere in the world, starting here in the U.S.,” said senior Aboubakar Lougue, who placed second.

This is Lougue’s third appearance in the event, and he attributed some of his success to past experiences.

“Experience does count,” said third-place finisher Manila Thai, who took fifth last year. “A lot of times, people mess up because they’re not used to the lingo. And when you have experience, it comes out a lot smoother.”

First time participants who also represented UH include finance senior Tin Vuong, who finished fourth, and finance junior Frances Dorrego, who claimed the No. 8 spot.

For Dorrego, The first round was nerve wrecking, but she said she felt comfortable by the second round.

The competition consisted of three elimination rounds. About 60 participants divided into three groups of 20 competed against each other in the first round.

By the third round, 12 remained in the competition. The noise coming from the throngs of people surrounding the mock pit, set up by the C.T. Bauer College of Business, attracted the attention of bystanders and created the high level of intensity and stress that real traders experienced.

“I learned how the market works and how buyers and sellers interact with each other in a live environment like on the stock floors,” Dorrego said.

A winning tradition

The Finance Association at the school of business hosted the competition Saturday at Melcher Hall. Fox News was also on hand to record some of the activities.

For the past 10 years, UH has hosted the competition in partnership with New York Mercantile Exchange, bringing together students from all over the country. Other schools represented Saturday included the University of Texas-Austin, UT–Dallas, the University of California-Berkley and the University of Tennessee.

Besides New York, UH is the only place to host the competition.

“We’re in the energy capital of the world, and we feel that we got the best students and the right human capital and material to make the event possible,” said Bill Cashmarck, finance major and Director of Research & Trade for FA.

The competition is a trading simulation designed to give students a realistic experience of traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange floors by filling hypothetical buy and sell orders on behalf of their clients. Trading crude oil begins in April, and the business school sets up a mock pit so students can market for crude oil and trade through open outcry fashion.

“The purpose is to bring students together to give them a piece of the atmosphere going on in New York every day with the open outcry trading,” Cashmarck said.

Last year, Cashmarck placed second overall, while fellow classmate Jonathan Hoang claimed third at UH before heading off to New York City. The pair of Cougars stepped it up in the Big Apple, where Cashmarck and Hoang took first and second place, respectively.

“It means a lot for UH to win. We have a tradition of winning the open outcry,” Cashmarck said. “First and second place is what we’ve come to expect, and we’re going to try and do the same thing year after year. This year was no exception.”

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