On Friday, March 11, four students from the Master of Science in Finance program earned second place in Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (PRMIA) Risk Management Challenge in Chicago, Illinois. After winning regional finals of Western Canada, the team from Simon Fraser University, comprising of Ai Zhang, Mahad Farrukh, Salvatore Moustakas and Chang (Emma) Liu, competed with eight international finalist teams from universities/colleges from New York, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Russia and London.
With 45 schools, 117 teams and 443 competitors participating, the 2016 PRMIA Risk Management Challenge became the largest in PRMIA history. In the regional round, 117 teams analyzed a case study on FX Risk Hedging at EADS. The winner of each region progressed to the final round in Chicago and presented a case study on JP Morgan Chase & the CIO Losses. After the competition, participants were also invited for a tour of Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group, the largest mercantile exchange network in the world. We were introduced to systems in place at CME which broadened the horizons of all participants as they were able to catch a glimpse of how the systems work on a global scale.
We learned a lot along the way to the podium. The case study format required us to indulge in substantial material outside of the case study paper. To solve the real-world case, we had to come up with solutions that breached assumptions in traditional finance models. We had to switch roles and sometimes had to put ourselves in the management’s seat to consider firm-wide impacts. Most importantly, we worked as a team, 7 days a week, 4 hours per night on average. We faced a variety of experiences together, including some really challenging periods but through the collective strength of our team, we were able to conquer the challenges. Most importantly, we learned from each other and enjoyed ourselves despite the difficult task at hand.
We would not have made it without the help from our faculty, administration and alumni who provided valuable suggestions and assisted in every possible way they could. We want to specifically highlight our appreciation for Tara Immell, who dedicated hours and nights helping us in our presentations; Derek Yee, who gave valuable feedback on our ideas; and Mehrdad Rastan, whose input was instrumental in our presentation strategy.
Ai Zhang, Mahad Farrukh, Salvatore Moustakas and Chang (Emma) Liu are all members in Student Investment Advisory Service (SIAS Fund), one of the largest student-run investment funds in North America with current market value over $15 million. With different responsibilities in the fund, such as portfolio management of fixed income and equity, these four students share the same interest in applying theories into real financial cases. They have different backgrounds ranging from accounting, corporate finance, consulting, and investment management. After their graduation in December 2016, they are looking for opportunities in Investments and Risk Management industry.