An Undergraduate team from the CU Denver Business School competes in Trading Challenge

Students in the University of Colorado Denver Business School are getting the chance to trade actual commodities in real time through the CME Group Commodity Trading Challenge.

This is the first year that CU Denver student teams are participating in the challenge, which offers a unique chance for students to learn hands-on techniques for trading futures. Three CU Denver teams are entered in the 320-team international competition — double the size of last year’s field — and will be trading crude oil, gold and corn futures.

CU Denver has entered two graduate-student teams, both part of the Global Energy Management Program, and one undergraduate team. Ben Kahn, team leader of one of the graduate-student squads, said he and his teammates are interested in learning more about how the energy markets function.

“The competition is giving us a chance to participate in these markets,” Kahn said. “Hopefully, it will provide us with a perspective on factors that affect energy prices, which we wouldn’t have received otherwise.”

The graduate teams are planning to place themselves in the winners’ circle by using compelling strategies for trading crude oil — one of the most-traded commodities in the world. While they don’t trade with real money, the students trade on a real-time professional trading platform provided by Denver-based CQG Inc.

The undergraduate team is made up of students who have expressed an interest in the Business School’s Commodities Program.

“It’s a great experience, a great way to learn about daily trading and what it feels like,” team leader Kirill Buzinov said. “We’re utilizing different technical and analysis techniques, and pretty much trying to make as much money as possible.”

The teams start with $100,000 in virtual money. The students enjoy using the state-of-the-art trading screens and equipment in the J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities. Also, they appreciate the assistance they receive from advisors Gavan Duemke (undergraduate team) and Michael Orlando (graduate teams).

Preliminary rounds in the Challenge took place this month, and the championship round will take place March 3-15.

Local news station 9News recently featured a story about one of the CU Denver Business School teams in its “Your Money Monday” segment, which is taped in the school’s J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities. Watch the segment on the 9News website, and includes a written article with more information about the competition and its sponsors.

Students on the CU Denver teams:

GEM VII: Jeremy Hancyk (team lead), Brandon Blevins, William Cannon and William Ellison. Team advisor is Michael Orlando.

GEM VIII: Ben Kahn (team lead), Michael Hutson, Jennifer Livermore, Ian Jaeger and Laura Doze. Team advisor is Michael Orlando.

Undergraduates: Kirill Buzinov (team lead), Bryant Burciaga, Melody Hurr and Blaine Stiner. Team advisor is Gavan Duemke.

(Photo: Members of the CU Denver undergraduate team in the CME Trading Challenge include, from left: Kirill Buzinov, Melody Hurr, Bryant Burciaga and Blaine Stiner.)

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