McDonough School of Business
News Story

MSF Students Earn First Place at the 2019 PeepTrade Investment Challenge

Students from Georgetown McDonough’s Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program won the 2019 PeepTrade Tradier Investment Challenge, marking the second time that a team of MSF students has been declared the winners of this global challenge. 

The annual event brings together 650 teams from more than 100 universities across the globe to compete against each other to manage a $1 million portfolio for one month. Each team is judged based on four categories: returns, presentation, risk management, and strategy definition and execution.

McDonough’s MSF investment teams have a strong history of competing on the global stage. This year presented its own unique challenges as students adapted to a virtual learning environment due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team consisting of Brian Harrison (MSF’20), Nicholas Kelsey (MSF’20), Eric Lee (MSF’20), Schaffer Ochstein (MSF’20), and Jose Valdes (MSF’20) put their communications skills to the ultimate test when it came to the final round of judging this spring, as they continued to work collaboratively, while physically apart.

Valdes believes their presentation stood out because they were able to adapt to a constantly changing investment landscape, as well as effectively work together as a team. 

“Despite all five of us living in different states, we maintained a constant stream of communication,” said Valdes. “Our planning allowed us to identify the best trading opportunities and learn from our mistakes, which made for efficient, calculated trades with defined risks and returns.” 

Thomas Cooke, distinguished teaching professor of business law assembles the teams, in addition to serving as both their mentor and advisor. He was confident the students would continue to overcome the obstacle of virtual meetings because MSF students, who participate in online and blended coursework for their program, traditionally work well in teams. 

“As I monitored the team’s progress and compared it to other teams, I had a high level of confidence early on that they would be the finalist,” said Cooke.

This year, Cooke knew a winning presentation included a well-defined investment strategy and an understanding of the investment landscape. The trade war between the United States and China was a major investment consideration during the competition period. 

“They worked very hard, coordinating crucial virtual meetings to produce an outstanding YouTube video to submit to the judges,” said Cooke. “I cannot say enough about how proud I am with the outcome and well-deserved team recognition.”

Before the impact of coronavirus on in-person gatherings, the winning team was set to make a presentation to the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations System (NASDAQ) in New York City in the spring. At a future date, the team will be invited to NASDAQ to receive their award.

M.S. in Finance