Stevens Institute Hosts Trading Day for High Schoolers

By Michael Hill

“Buy low, sell high,” IEX Group COO John Schwall.

Stevens Institute of Technology alum Schwall offered high schoolers some advice and rang the bell to start the trading.

Competitive trading for 20 high school teams including West Essex.

Junior Marissa Inga and her classmates spent three hours intensely watching, weighing and wondering which trades to make, to buy or to sell.

“It’s very exciting. It’s very interesting. I’ve never done anything like this,” she said.

This is the second year Stevens Institute of Technology has staged this Trading Day. These high schools are given a million and a half dollars to trade on 30 different stocks. The goal, of course, is to come out in the black.

Business teacher Susan Sherman got goose bumps and could barely stand the intensity.

“While the computer is telling them something it may or may not be true. It’s like looking on the internet. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean it’s true. You have to do your due diligence. You have to do your research. You have to use common sense. You can’t use one source. You gotta follow the news. You gotta see where the stock’s going,” she said.

“It’s phenomenal. It’s inspirational,” Schwall said.

Schwall graduated from Stevens in ’95 and is now the COO of the IEX Trading Group. He says this is like the real trading floor.

“You could tell that there was a bit of that energy and excitement, perhaps a little bit of that perspiration on some of the faces. I think some of these kids got into it. Any time you get that kind of competitive juice flowing especially when it comes to trading. There’s that risk appetite and you could tell some of the students were the risk takers and you can tell the ones a little more risk averse. So, you saw a microcosm of a traditional trading desk right here within each of those teams,” he said.

“This is real-life stuff, not theoretical. It’s wonderful,” Sherman said.

“We teach students not just about financial theory but what they really need to know to do well on Wall Street,” said Stevens Institute of Technology Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Ann Murphy.

Murphy says Stevens stages this event to let students know the school is more than just technology — it’s business and finance engineering with technology that mimics Wall Street’s.

“I cant tell you that 96 percent of our students last year got placed within six months of graduation. Yeah, pretty amazing,” said Associate Dean Janet Murphy.

Inga seems hooked. She’s considering attending Stevens because she wants a career on Wall Street.

When asked why she wants to do this, she said, “I think there’s such a growing market especially with computers just taking over just every job.”

Stevens says that’s just the kind of passion and inspiration it hopes its Trading Day stokes.