Students from universities across Canada and the U.S. are getting ready to embody their inner stockbroker as the John Molson Stock Exchange (JMSX) returns Nov. 16.
The event, hosted by a student-run group at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business—the Finance and Investment Students’ Association (FISA)—is in its fourth year of running.
Well versed in the world of finance, the members of FISA have put together a mock stock exchange where 200 students gather to compete for a monetary prize. While the JMSX caters primarily to business students, the event’s organizer, Jennifer Paragios, said that people of all disciplines are welcome.
“We hold an orientation session at the beginning of the event to bring people up to speed,” Paragios explained. “It serves as a crash course for those who might not know much about trading.”
What makes this event unique from other similar ones hosted at different universities is that students compete in an open outcry market. It reflects the real hustle and bustle environment of a traditional stock market pit.
“At other universities, participants trade through computers. Here, they’re actively interacting with other traders on the floor,” said Martin Tzakov, a FISA member in charge of technology for the event.
Tzakov expressed that having an open outcry makes it more entertaining because you get to feed off of people’s emotions and energy.
Much ingenuity went into creating the event. JMSX is equipped with an elaborate software program designed by Tzakov himself.
“We are the only school to have a student design the software for this kind of event. We don’t outsource our work,” he said.
Participants are expected to bid on commodities as the program displays hypothetical, breaking-news stories meant to foreshadow in which direction the economy is heading. The economic situation will have a direct correlation to the value of the commodity. Contestants scramble to weed out the buyers from the sellers based on whether they think the market is struggling or flourishing.
The JMSX participants will have the opportunity to bid their way towards generous prizes. The association grants a total of $5,000 in cash rewards to the three teams that have made the most profit.
Amidst all the competition, there is still room for some light-hearted fun.
“We even give out a prize to the group that has the best team name,” Paragios added.
First-time participants might be intimidated by the frenzied environment in the beginning, but Paragios and Tzakov reassure that such feelings are normal and are quickly replaced by a burning desire to come out on top.
“The hardest thing is not about understanding the concepts, it’s about having the confidence to have your voice heard above everyone else’s. Don’t be shy, just give it all you got and have fun with it,” Tzakov advised.
The John Molson Stock Exchange was founded four years ago by two students who were trailblazers in their field of study, Wynnyn Chan and Julien Zheng. What started off as a promising contribution to their school’s business community has now turned into one of John Molson’s biggest events.
This year, tickets sold out two weeks prior to the end of registration. JMSX is also garnering a significant amount of attention from students abroad, with one-third of participants coming from outside of the province.
Check out the event on Facebook.