The final of the Student Investor Challenge 2018 is at the end of the week and we hear from trading enthusiasts and finalists, Colin the Cow, who qualified in 1st place. We'll hand it straight over to the team from York...
Hey, we are Colin the Cow! I’d love to tell you a super cool backstory to the name, and what it tells you about us as a team, but truth is we just thought it up quickly so we could crack on with trading. Call it prioritising, if you will – that’s how we like to think of it anyway.
I suppose the name Colin the Cow leaves a lot unknown for you about us elusive traders, so let me fill you in. We are four 18 year olds, none of which are named Colin or have any sort of association with cows, who all attend the same school in York.
Our interests vary wildly, as we study different subjects ranging from Art to Chemistry to Economics. We do have one common thread though, aside from our insatiable lust for trading virtual shares, which is that we all study Business Studies. That’s where this story begins, so shout out to our Business teacher Mr Parkin for entering us into this competition and revealing the intriguing world of finance to us.
Loving all things competitive it took little to persuade us to enter, although the trip to New York also had an undeniable draw. Last year was our first dabble, which brought us moderate (OK, little) success as we chalked up some big gains but ultimately failed to reach the semi-final round. However, we had learned some vital skills, so by the time this year’s challenge came around we were thirsty AND ready.
The learning curve continued as we started the first round, with refinements in strategy meaning we climbed quickly from a low base. Once through to the semi-final, we consolidated all our knowledge learned thus far to make informed decisions, enabling us to race out of the blocks and grab first place in the first week. Continued research ensured we had not relinquished our position at the end of the round, bringing us to where we are now.
Of course, all of this makes getting through to the final sound easy, but take our word for it – it really wasn’t. The unpredictability of the stock market and the ever-present risk that came with each decision made sure each one had to be made with a lot of careful consideration, with the acknowledgement that investments can fall as well as rise.
A big challenge for us was learning to resist the temptation to get jittery when stocks fell and sell them off quickly; in fact we found it more beneficial to hold firm and wait for the right price before selling.
Of course, not all the learning was just individuals improving their knowledge; in fact we found that the competition taught us valuable skills in working together as a team. There was one particular incident when the team was directly split on a decision, with two members feeling that a certain stock would rise whilst two others felt the reverse would be true. The stock was bought and almost comically lost us £9,000 off our portfolio value.
Learning to communicate as a team became crucial, and helped us to reason between one another. We appreciate that it will be crucial in the final, which we eagerly await.
- Pierre Frizelle (18), Owen Johnston (18), Kirby Frizelle (18), Fred Trevvett (18), Colin the Cow.
The best of luck to the Colin the Cow team in the Student Investor Challenge Final!
You can follow the final of the Student Investor Challenge via the dedicated Twitter page on the 27th April.