On April 8, the University of Chicago hosted its fifth iteration of the Midwest Trading Competition, drawing 102 students from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. The students got a chance to test their algorithms using Trading Technologies’ TT Platform in a variety of simulations involving pairs trading and options market-making.

But the event was more than just a fun way for smart kids to strut their stuff using real-world technology and market data. It was a rare networking opportunity for the students and sponsors — some of Chicago’s biggest prop shops had staff and management on hand to mingle. The day before the competition, Optiver and IMC hosted students at their offices and then Citadel took everybody out for ping pong and beer. For the sponsor firms, this was the perfect talent pool. As proof, some former participants were on hand, no longer as students but as employees of the firms they met when they competed in years past.

The day of the competition, besides offering the requisite industry swag and refreshments, also featured a panel on careers in trading with a hodgepodge of traders and technologists that truly represented the myriad paths that can lead to a job.

The competition has gotten bigger and better, both in scale and quality, each time it has been held. Trading Technologies upped the ante this year, giving the students an even more robust simulation with more pricing updates.  

The room was filled with palpable excitement and frustration as teams reacted to their profit and loss. Some of the students had paid their own way to Chicago, so the cash prizes at the end of the rainbow had extra allure. On top of the cash, the winning teams were treated to dinner with DRW. Sure beats ramen noodles three meals a day.


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