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Quant Trading Competitions

A series of established trading competitions. Win large financial prizes, network with companies and recruiters, and land an internship.


What is a Trading Competition?

It's widely known that the surest path to breaking into the field of quantitative finance is through landing an internship. Not only does landing an internship present the possibility of a return offer but also serves as a strong signal to other firms that you are a skilled candidate.

As a result, every year, students spend weeks hacking on side projects, perfecting their resumes, grinding mental math games, and taking online courses in preparation to land and ace the internship interviews. While all of these are great ways to prepare, students often miss a much easier, more effective option that exists: trading competitions.

As the name suggests, trading competitions are competitive events hosted by academic institutions or companies in which students form teams and trade in a risk-free environment (i.e you're given "fake money" to use in the competition). Most trading competitions begin on a Friday evening and last the entirety of the weekend. These competitions are great opportunities to get real-world experience with trading various financial instruments and also offer extensive financial awards for the winners. If that wasn't exciting enough, you'll also have the opportunity to network with many of the companies that come to these events and potentially land an internship.

In this article, we'll share everything you need to know about being successful in a trading competition. This includes what to do before the competition and what you should be thinking about during the competition itself. Furthermore, we'll share a list of some of the best competitions that will be held in the upcoming months.


Preparing for a Trading Competition

Before going into a trading competition, you'll want to make sure you are familiar with the rules and guidelines for the competition. Every competition will have a web page sharing these details, so you must read them carefully before the event. If the competition is geared towards an asset class that you're not familiar with (for example, event contracts), it would be a good idea to try and experiment with actually trading that asset before the competition.

Once you've familiarized yourself with the logistics of the competition, you'll next want to start thinking about the team you plan to work with. At this point, check with your peers if they would be interested in teaming up, or try reaching out to your school club to find other interested members.

One mistake that students often make when going into a trading competition is prioritizing winning over everything else. While winning the competition should be on your mind, it's important to recognize that these competitions will be quite competitive. Therefore, you should still aim to gain something from the experience even if you don't come out on top of the leaderboard.

Typically, trading competitions will have a designated time frame in which you can network with the various companies hosting the event. This is a great opportunity to set a good first impression and get your foot in the door for an interview. Make sure you have a polished resume ready and a solid elevator pitch for when the opportunity arises.

A List of Established Trading Competitions

#1 Ready Trader Go - Optiver

Ready Trader Go is one of the most popular trading competitions that students participate in each year. Hosted annually by Optiver, RTG is a global algorithmic coding competition in which you can form teams with your peers and compete for a grand prize of 30,000 euros.

In this year's competition, you'll be building and optimizing a trading algorithm for Optiver's simulated market exchange. Registration for this trading competition closes on March 5th, so be sure to sign up soon.

#2 Prosperity - IMC Trading

Prosperity is a global trading challenge, held by the proprietary trading firm named IMC Trading. In this competition, you'll be involved with executing a combination of manual and algorithmic (with Python) trades for a grand prize of 25,000 dollar tropical vacation.

This year's competition will begin on March 20th, so make sure to register soon. If you're not familiar with many trading concepts (Bid Order, Order Book, etc.) - don't worry. IMC has put together a comprehensive web page that will teach you everything you need to know about these terms as well as how to work with Python.

#3 University of Chicago Trading Competition

The UChicago trading competition is one of the longest-running trading competitions focused on algorithmic trading, market making, options trading, and time series analysis. This competition presents an opportunity to tackle an interesting algorithmic trading case study and compete alongside students from various universities.

One of the great aspects of this competition is that you'll also have the opportunity to interact with many of the firms sponsoring the event. For instance, Friday afternoon before the competition will consist of direct opportunities to meet recruiters and partake in a virtual career fair. This competition will take place on April 14th and 15th, so be sure to check out the website to find out how to register.

#4 Traders at Berkely - University of California, Berkely

Traders at Berkely is a student-run club that is hosting an intercollegiate trading competition sponsored by many of the top quant firms, such as Citadel, Jane Street, and Optiver. Students participate in a weekend of trading and research competitions with the chance to speak and network with recruiters. The grand prize for this competition is $10,000.

This year's competition will be held in person on the UC Berkeley campus and will last two days. While sign-ups for this year are already closed, we highly recommend bookmarking this page to be ready when registration re-opens next time.

#5 Event Contract Trading - Kalshi

Kalshi is a blossoming startup that is pioneering the use of a new asset called an event contract. In order to get more students to learn about this new financial asset, they're hosting a trading competition that features the chance to win $5000 in Kalshi credits and a potential internship opportunity.

In this competition, you'll get 1k in fake money to try your hand at trading event contracts (i.e the outcome of various events). This competition is also closed, but we highly recommend keeping track of when registration reopens.

What's Next?

Thanks for reading this article, we hope that you found it helpful! Well, now you know everything you need to apply and be succesfull in a quant trading competition. If you're interested in finding jobs and internships in quantitative finance, check out OpenQuant, and we'll catch you next time!