By the SMU Libraries with contribution from Tee Lip Hwe, Research Librarian, Accountancy & Business (Finance)
In the recent Bloomberg Global Trading Challenge, SMU secured the first, third, fourth, and fifth positions in Singapore, respectively. The leading team, named "SMU Bois", with its team’s faculty advisor Assistant Professor Shang Botong, also attained the 61st position in the global rankings of the challenge.
This month and a half-long competition, held from October 9th to November 18th, attracted a total of 2007 teams worldwide, including 28 teams from local universities such as Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore. SMU stood out as the sole institution from the South-East Asia and Oceania regions to achieve a position in the top 100 globally.
The Bloomberg Global Challenge, is a university investment competition that engages teams of 3-5 students whom are led by a faculty advisor. Utilising the Bloomberg Terminal, teams formulate strategies and execute trades within a closed network.
Throughout the competition, SMU Libraries' Research Librarians provided unwavering support, delivering training, and guidance on the libraries subscribed Bloomberg Terminals usage. Team captain, Ting Kang from SMU Bois, in particular, noted that “The Research Librarian Lip Hwe has supported our team throughout the entire length of the competition. The library’s expertise in Bloomberg has taught our team to explore useful tools such as setting daily news alerts which can be used to select the WLS list as the universe for news alerts. Other new and interesting tools we picked up include Catalyst Calendar and NSTM.”
In exploring the motivations behind the student’s participation and their key takeaways, SMU Libraries interviewed members from the top Singapore team, SMU Bois, and the third Singapore team, Quant Freshwomen.
What motivated you to join the challenge?
Team Bois: The Bloomberg challenge attracted our team with the promise of hands-on experience using Bloomberg terminals, all wrapped up in an exciting and fun competitive environment. It felt like the perfect blend of learning and enjoyment, allowing us to apply our financial knowledge while having a great time exploring real-time data and analytics.
Quant Freshwomen: Engaging in the challenge not only served as a platform for refining our stock market expertise but also acted as a litmus test for our responsiveness to stock market news. Given the rapid pace of the competition, we were compelled to stay abreast of the latest developments, react promptly to market shifts, and make well-informed decisions in light of breaking news. The challenge essentially transformed into a real-time simulation, highlighting the paramount importance of accurately interpreting and responding to stock market news. This heightened sensitivity to various news sources, whether pertaining to economic indicators, corporate disclosures, or geopolitical occurrences, stands out as a pivotal lesson gleaned from the experience. It underscores the practical significance of staying well-informed in the ever-evolving landscape of financial markets.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Team Bois: Two key hurdles surfaced during the Bloomberg challenge: late-night stays at school for terminal access and the extensive research required to select the right stocks. To conquer these obstacles, teamwork became our cornerstone. We strategised by delegating tasks, ensuring everyone had a role to play. This collaborative effort not only lightened the individual workload but also allowed us to maximize our collective strengths.
Quant Freshwomen: One difficulty we experienced was not precisely timing the purchase of prominent equities such as Tesla and Nvidia. Another barrier was our impatience for immediate returns, which caused us to sell equities too soon. To overcome these obstacles, we've learned to be more strategic in our financial decisions and to be patient when hanging onto stocks in the future.
What are some of the takeaways that you gained from the challenge?
Team Bois: One of the most interesting things I found and explored was how powerful the Blomberg Terminal was in getting all available data about a certain equity. Whatever you want to analyse, the Terminal can definitely find it for you! Another thing I learnt was the importance of remaining calm and trusting the strategy. There were some days where our portfolio performed extremely poorly, but we learnt how to stay the course and trust that the portfolio would work over the length of the challenge.
Quant Freshwomen: The experience has taught us valuable lessons, such as the importance of strategic timing in stock investments and the need for patience in holding onto stocks for long-term gains. Initially, we were not familiar with tools such as the Bloomberg terminal, but our eagerness to learn and our participation in the challenge were driven by a desire to become proficient in utilizing such resources. As we delved into the competition, our exposure to the Bloomberg terminal became a pivotal aspect of our learning journey. The challenge provided a practical context for us to familiarize ourselves with this powerful financial tool, enhancing our ability to analyse market data swiftly and make informed decisions.
How did you feel when you found out your team came in 1st in Singapore for the challenge?
Team Bois: To be honest, it was amazing. I remember looking at it in the dead of night, and jumping out of bed when we saw the results. It sort of told us that our efforts over the past 6 weeks paid off!
Quant Freshwomen: Discovering that our team secured the 3rd position in Singapore filled us with a profound sense of accomplishment and pride. It reinforced the value of the hard work and dedication put into the challenge, highlighting the effectiveness of the strategies and knowledge gained throughout the competition. This collective achievement underscored the strength of our teamwork and the synergy that emerged from our collaborative efforts. The recognition of our accomplishments in the competitive arena of the stock market challenge served as a testament to the commitment and collective expertise of our team.