Whitman Students Compete at the Open Outcry NYMEX Challenge

Whitman School of Management students put experiential learning to work when they took to the trading floor for the NYMEX Commodities Challenge competition on April 11. Eight students, members of the Whitman Investment Club, traveled to the New York Mercantile Exchange to compete in the exciting and fast-paced Open Outcry event. Two Whitman sophomores, Chris Ransom and Brian Scasserra, were selected to compete in the final round and each took home $100 in cash prizes.

The two phase competition began in February with electronic trading. Each competing team was given a mock account of $100,000 to trade full-size crude oil and natural gas. At the end of the first phase, the top teams qualified for the Open Outcry competition in New York City. The students were judged by NYMEX traders on their ability to fill orders and utilize proper trading techniques.

“Competing was a really great experience. Open outcry is a fading practice, so we got to take part in something that has a historical importance and really symbolizes Wall Street,” says Scasserra. “So even though commodity trading has changed, the interactive open outcry still taught us a lot about the way the market moves.”

Alumnus David Greenberg ’86 coached and supported the students at the competition. In addition to Ransom and Scasserra, the Whitman team included sophomores Rich Knarr, Dhaval Parikh, Ed Wong, and Gary Stefanski, and juniors Drew Sullivan and Chris Stallings.

“Getting coached by Mr. Greenberg was a valuable tool that enabled us to place two team members in the top twelve,” says Stefanski. “He also told us some great stories about the hey-day of pre-online training at NYMEX which gave us a unique perspective on what the floor of NYMEX was really like.”

The 5th Annual NYMEX Commodities Challenge was sponsored by Hofstra University, Hofstra Quants & Traders Club, Columbia University SIPA Energy Association, and University of Houston Bauer Finance Association.