Fairfield’s student team from left to right: Colby Zelano, Matt Molta, Andrew Silkowski, Lucy Fowler, Joe McNiff, and Ben Moccia.

Fairfield University’s student team, consisting of six Dolan School of Business students, scored fifth place in the Rotman International Trading Competition last month, ranking 26 places higher than Princeton University and 31 places above Columbia University. 

Fairfield’s rank in the 2024 competition, having taken place on February 21 through the 23, marks the highest placement that the University has achieved in the competition to date.

Lucy Fowler ‘25, the only woman on the student team, is “still on a high” following the trading competition. 

“It was a fever dream… and it says a lot about Fairfield,” Fowler relayed, impressed that the University’s team scored above each Ivy League school competing.

Speaking to the team’s success, Fowler attributed the group’s achievement in part to the personal dynamic at Fairfield. 

“I really think it has to do with the tight network at Fairfield, the connections you can make with your professors and how much easier you can learn,” she shared. 

While the team achieved a record place in the competition, its accomplishment was no easy feat, Fowler insisted. Each student on the team spent over 40 hours preparing an Excel sheet including updated stock data alongside their professor, Dr. Hlawitschka. 

“He helped everyone,” she explained. “He put in six times the amount of work that everybody else put into this, and without him we probably wouldn’t have ranked anywhere near where we were.”

Having prepared such complex Excel sheets in advance, the student team was perplexed when the international competition changed its regulations just days before the competition, restricting Excel in place of Python.

“We had to transfer everything to Python,” Fowler recounted. Despite their efforts, the team “realized [they] were never going to get anything done in Python because [they] were business students,” unfamiliar with the computer language.

“Nobody knew what the hell was going on,” she said. Deciding to switch gears, the team implemented a new strategy: what they knew.

“We knew the trading mechanisms like the back of our hand. So when we went into the competition, we weren’t coming in with Python support sheets… we were going off mental math… what we knew from every single practice run,” Fowler recalled. 

The team was met with yet another challenge when they learned they had to trade in separate rooms. With no Excel sheets for reference, the students began to call each other for expertise, a strategy Fowler described as “unconventional.” 

“While everyone’s trading in the room off of their Excel sheet and Python things that are telling them what to do, we’re on the phone talking to each other,” she laughed. “Towards the end of the competition, everyone knew who we were, because we were the only team that wouldn’t stop talking and yelling at each other over the phone.”

As a result of their methods and good spirits, Fairfield’s team received roaring applause at the award ceremony. 

Reflecting on her experience in the competition and more broadly at the University, Fowler said she is confident in her decision to attend Fairfield.

“You can see the value of a small tight-knit school like Fairfield,” she insisted. “We can keep up with anyone.” 

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