Tomorrow’s leaders test their investment skills with CME’s University Trading Challenge

By: Anita Liskey, Senior Managing Director, Global Brand Marketing and Communications, CME Group Oct 2021

As technology continues to transform every aspect of the world in which we live, the financial services industry is rapidly evolving. The recent proliferation of fintech firms has enabled historic innovation with new services, such as mobile applications for trading, and new types of investable assets, which have gained swift demand among both new and established investors.

That may be one reason why the next generation of professionals are excited to enter the world of finance.

Investment banks and other financial firms remain a top destination for future graduates, who submitted record numbers of internship applications this year. Given the highly competitive market, one must demonstrate a strong working knowledge of global markets, unique asset classes and daily trading strategies to stand out as a candidate.

With this in mind, CME Group offers students a novel opportunity to expand their knowledge of futures markets with an online trading simulator to test what they learn in real time.

The annual CME Group University Trading Challenge, now in its 18th year, is a digital trading competition that allows students to experience the excitement, liveliness and decision-making environment of real-time futures trading, all free of charge.

Learning in the moment 

Teams of undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to trade CME Group’s futures products in agriculture, energy, metals, equity indices, interest rates and foreign exchange, using a simulated professional trading platform provided by CQG. Live market data and premium news articles are also provided to students free of charge.

The competition is widely recognized in the industry for its pioneering efforts in advancing financial literacy using trading simulators. University professors and professional traders serve as mentors, and teams have the option of being paired with faculty advisors throughout the competition.

“The University Trading Challenge has been a great opportunity for my students to understand the complexity and rewards of working together and understanding risk management,” says John Gray, adjunct instructor, Economics and Finance, University of Dayton, Ohio.

Luis Nicolau, a professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Guadalajara Campus in Jalisco, Mexico, agrees, adding, “Competing in the challenge is an incredible entry into the fascinating world of money. I am sure that there is a before and after for the students who participate and open their minds to many more possibilities in their career.”

Expert insight 

Last year, the competition drew more than 2,000 students and 500 teams from over 30 countries worldwide. CME Group is hoping to bring together even more students this year.

The competition runs from October 3-29 and all eligible students are strongly encouraged to participate. First-place team members will each receive a $2,000 cash prize, with additional prizes awarded down to the fifth-place team.

Following the competition, students are invited to attend a one-day Market Education forum that provides an exclusive look into CME Group and the financial industry. During the virtual session, business experts deliver presentations relevant to the global marketplace, and students have the opportunity to learn from the industry's top firms.

Through its commitment to advancing financial literacy, CME Group provides a wide range of risk management education, including its CME Institute hub, which offers detailed courses, webinars and videos on trading futures on options markets, as well as a trading simulator.

CME Group also partners with other industry organizations to offer educational tools, such as Futures Fundamentals, a one-stop educational resource for ‘futures 101’, to help beginners understand the role of futures markets in everyday life.

As digital technology continues to shape the future for tomorrow’s leaders, it can also be used to educate them on the markets and practices that they will one day oversee. By partnering with the emerging generation of professionals, we can help ensure their success in driving the world forward. That is what CME Group’s University Trading Challenge is all about.


The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.