FCBE team finishes first at the Southeastern Hedge Fund Competition

For release:  May 15, 2017

A team composed of four Fogelman College students was recently awarded the first place prize in the Southeastern Hedge Fund Competition, held at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Vivek Sharma, instructor in the Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIR), served as the faculty coordinator for the team of Aubrey Ballard, Eithel McGowen LaTorre, Joseph Pascarella, and Charles Rodgers. The team received a $10,000 scholarship prize for their first place finish.

Teams of students from 39 universities and colleges in the Southeast and beyond, such as Duke, Emory, Vanderbilt, University of Tennessee, Georgia Tech, among others, participated in the first annual Southeastern Hedge Fund Competition. The objective of the competition was for students to learn investment strategies suitable for use by hedge funds. Hedge fund managers chosen by the Southeastern Hedge Fund Association (SEHFA) judged anonymously submitted investment strategy proposals. The proposals included a discussion of the main economic idea behind the strategy and the expected returns and risks associated with the strategy. The proposals could also include discussions of any other considerations that may affect the investment strategy, such as liquidity, scalability, and feasibility. Results of back-testing, simulations, or other analyses designed to assess or examine the strategy could also be included. In addition, submissions were judged on the quality of the work that went into generating the submission. The top six finalists were then invited to Atlanta to present their investment strategies to a panel of SEHFA judges.

"Presenting our strategy in the heart of Atlanta's financial district, on the 12th Floor of Georgia State's J. Mack Robinson Business School, in front of the people who have been running and managing hedge funds for several years made us felt underprepared despite the 200 plus hours we spent as a team in the Cook Analytics and Trading Lab. Having the same people come up to us later to discuss the finer details and commend our strategy was a bigger validation than winning the first place prize worth 10,000 dollars," said Vivek Sharma, team faculty coordinator.

"Team spirit, dedicated preparation, good mentoring, and excellent coaching all played an important role," said Dr. P.K. Jain, interim-chair of the Department of FIR. "The department is especially thankful to the finance faculty members and professionals from First TN Bank (Steve Valadie, CFA) and St. Jude (Mr. Anurag Pandit, CFA) who generously volunteered their time to help the highly energetic students with evening team practices in the Cook Analytics and Trading Lab."

"Fogelman College is extremely proud of the accomplishments that are being achieved by our students," said Dr. Rajiv Grover, dean of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics. "We could not reach the level of success demonstrated here without the generous support of Michael and Jennifer Cook in providing our students with the state-of-the-art Cook Analytics Trade Lab. This is exactly the type of student learning we are able to cultivate through this valuable resource."

"This accomplishment reflects our relative standing in attracting talented students and then nurturing them for analytical careers and leadership roles in finance," said Jain. "Also, the students on our team got a chance to demonstrate their talent in front of some very sharp and influential finance hedge fund professionals and recruiters. We are very proud of their accomplishment in outperforming a very impressive set of top-notch universities."