Team excels at international competition

Ashley R. Lynam

Four students from Villanova’s College of Commerce and Finance competed in the Rotman International Trading Competition contest in Toronto, Canada.

The members of the team, which include undergraduates Kelly McKeon and Phil Bellino, as well as graduate students Celine Nguyen and Patrick Schaffer, represented the competitive edge on which the College of Commerce and Finance prides itself.

The team finished in seventh place out of 38 teams from all over the globe and placed ahead of American universities Duke, Notre Dame, Drexel, Penn State and the University of Texas. The only American teams to place ahead of Villanova came from MIT and Carnegie Mellon.

“Not bad company at all,” Dr. Michael Pagano, the team’s coach and coordinator said. The team is also headed by Professor James Jablonski of the College of Commerce and Finance.

RITC is an annual contest held in Toronto. Centrally located in Ontario’s financial district, the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto calls together teams from universities all over the world to compete in this distinctive conference. The conference, which lasts for two days, presents model cases that imitate real-world markets. RITC designs these simulated market cases and challenges students to participate as market traders. There are various forms of simulated securities trading, and each case proved to be very similar to the elements of real-world trading markets.

Prior to the competition in Toronto, the team was extensively trained by Dr. Pagano and Professor Jablonski. The team also received support from Dr. David Nawrocki, who is the Director of the Institute for Research in Advance Financial Technology.

“This was our first time competing in any sort of trading competition,” Dr. Pagano said. At the end of the competition, the rankings came in close. Villanova’s team was only two points away from finishing in the top three. Villanova’s excellence in the competition is especially significant as a new team.

Dr. Pagano also stressed the outstanding makeup of Villanova’s team. Most teams in the competition were made up entirely of male participants, and only a few other teams had one female member. Villanova’s team stood out from the rest as it was composed of two male and two female members, one each at the graduate and undergraduate level.

The four members of the team received an invaluable learning experience as well as a monetary prize. Most importantly, the team represented Villanova’s fierce academic competitiveness on a global stage.