Students compete in global investment competition

A team of seven King’s Academy students are competing in The Wharton Global High School Investment Competition, an online investment simulation for upper school students and teachers. Over the past few weeks, Yanlin Li ’22, Yuru Wu ’22, Ziad El Hout ’23, Natheir AbuDahab ’21, Rakan Mouasher ’22, Yinzhe Liu ’24 and Jafar Fakhouri ’23 have been working together, guided by faculty member Mohammad Sarhan, on trading stocks using different strategies to maximize returns and minimize risks. 

The team started by examining a brief client profile and were tasked with meeting that client’s short- and long-term investment goals to try and win the client’s business. The team is equipped with an approved stock list (a selection of domestic and international equities) and the Wharton Investment Simulator, which allows them to buy and sell stocks. The competition takes place over the course of 10 weeks, during which time the students develop an investment strategy, analyze industries and companies, and build a portfolio using $100,000 in virtual cash. Through the investment simulation, students learn how to work collaboratively and communicate effectively, and learn about risk, diversification, company analysis, industry analysis and investing.

“We submitted the midterm review a few weeks ago, which included our team’s strategy for the first half of the competition,” explains Sarhan. “So far, our students have made around four percent return on their investments, which is a solid return for only a few weeks of investment.” 

The team’s strategies included quantitative ones, such as calculating financial ratios that indicate the value of a certain stock, and qualitative ones, such as following international events like the political changes in the United States and the global response to the pandemic and using that information to inform their investment decisions. 

While the students have varying knowledge of investment — some have enrolled in the Global Online Academy (GOA)’s investment course, and others have tried investing with real money — what is impressive, notes Sarhan, is their ability to synthesize complex information across different channels and use that information to guide their investment decisions in a professional manner.

“This has been an exciting and highly engaging activity so far,” says Sarhan, who hopes to see more opportunities offered at school for students to develop critical financial skills.

Competing teams will be required to submit a comprehensive final investment report in December which will be reviewed by a team of judges who select a group of top teams. Those teams will then be invited to present their strategies to a panel of expert judges at the regional finals. Regional winners will then move on to the global finale in May.