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What a Difference a Year Makes

25 July, 2019James Tucker

Sic winner

This year I had the amazing opportunity to be invited back to The London Institute of Banking and Finance for the final of this year’s National Student Investor Challenge. However, this was not the first time I had been to the final of the competition.

In the final last year, I was competing alongside 3 of my team mates to try and win an all expenses paid life-changing trip to New York. My memories from the actual final are slightly incomplete which I attribute to not getting much sleep due to excitement the night before and being so totally focused and hyped up during the day. I remember spending the 2 hour train journey down to London from York rehearsing our presentation using a smartphone as our screen and our teacher sat across the aisle as the audience.

Prepared For The Challenges

Upon arriving at the building, the nerves started to kick in and we barely registered the amazing view of Tower Bridge from the windows – we were too busy making sure that we were prepared for the challenges to come. After the introduction by Alison Pask we listened to a very insightful and useful presentation by Will de Lucy which gave us some information on how to use the ReTrader platform and a brief background on what we would be trading.

After the manic morning challenges, we ate some lunch before going away from everybody else to practice our presentation ready for the afternoon. Luckily, we were the first team to present which meant that we could relax and enjoy listening to the other presentations for the rest of the afternoon. It was amazing that as soon as we sat down from the presentation a wave of relief washed over us and we realised how nervous we had been. Whilst we were waiting for the results we could enjoy the view and talk about how we thought it went.

Thankfully, the build up to the results wasn’t too long as we thought that we had done well and were anxious to find out. The feeling of winning was amazing and didn’t sink in for quite a few days afterwards.

Judging This Year's Competition 

This year I was invited back to attend the final as a judge. I jumped at the opportunity as I really wanted to properly enjoy the day and re-live the final but from a more relaxed state. My mother followed the final on Twitter last year as she was unable to come down to London but was invited to attend this year’s final with me which made the experience even more special as we both soaked up the atmosphere and I told her more about my experiences of the final so that she could visualise it.

I enjoyed mingling with the finalists before the challenges started and asking them where they were from and how they had done in the previous rounds. Understandably they were not very talkative as they were in the same position that I was in the previous year – full of excitement and nerves about the day ahead.

I gave a short speech to the finalists before the challenges started to help calm their nerves and give them an insight into the day ahead from someone who had been in their position before. I had a front row seat to watch the morning challenges. Feeling the atmosphere in the room and watching the teams try and predict whether the market was going up or down brought back some of the nerves that I had felt the previous year. It also made me even more appreciative of how sophisticated the challenges are and what an amazing experience the whole event is.

New York, New York

In the afternoon I gave another short speech before the presentations started in which I talked about my experience of New York and emphasised how unbelievable the prize is. I then sat and watched all of the presentations by this year’s finalists. The standard this year was exceptionally high with several teams handing out booklets that supplemented their presentations and including content that showed the huge amount of research that they had undertaken. It was a great experience being on the other side of the table and asking the teams questions about their presentations. Talking with the other judges also gave me an insight into what industry leaders are looking for in young people which I hope to use to further my professional development.

The competition has benefitted me in more ways than simply giving me memories from New York that will last a lifetime. The whole experience has ignited my passion for trading and investment by giving me a taste of what a career in this field is like. Through the competition I have met people who have given me further guidance to help me reach my ambitions which for somebody at my stage in their career development is invaluable. By winning the competition, it has given me something that I have talked about during interviews for different jobs and positions of responsibility and distinguishes me from other candidates. It has also given me confidence in my abilities that has helped me to branch out and try new activities that I may not have otherwise tried.

The whole competition has had a huge impact on who I am today and I know that it will continue to do so for the next few years as I continue with my university studies and aim to secure a graduate job.

Find out more about Student Investor Challenge 2019