The UBS challenge

Given £100,000 of virtual money to invest in the stock market, who could make the largest return?

What made you take part in the UBS Challenge?

Ravneek Reena Bains

Studying Accounting and Finance at Warwick University

UBS are the only bank to offer this sort of thing to first years and I thought it was a brilliant chance to get an idea of what it's like to invest in the stock market. I also liked the fact that we had an opportunity to earn extra virtual money by doing a treasure hunt on campus. As a first year student, I didn't have much knowledge about investment banking but I could still get started in the game.

Maxim Ladid

Studying Economics and Management at Oxford University

I'm very interested in trading - in fact, I'm passionate about it. So a friend and I thought it would be interesting to see what impact the trading game would have on our future career decisions.

Michelle Gomes

Studying English at Cambridge University

Although I'm studying English, I've always been interested in economics - especially since the recession and everything that's happened in the banking world.

What was your investment strategy?

Raneeek I read the Financial Times and applied what I'd learned to my investments. I had to assess the impact of certain developments in the news and predict what effect they would have on the stock price. My best investments were in Sainsbury's and Cadbury's. All in all, I made £118,000 on top of my initial £100,000 stake.

Michelle Every morning I would look in the FT and on the internet to decide what stocks to invest in. Shell's shares did particularly well for me, but I didn't just put all my money into one company. That worked in my favour.

Maxim My friend had done trading classes so he taught me the basics. We used statistical analysis based on Bollinger trading strategies - it's a technical way to understand price volatility. I invested in a renewable energy company that made me £10,000 in one day. But I lost twice that much on the stock the next day - it taught me a lot about volatility! Overall, I made about £85,000. It felt very real and I had a lot of fun.

You also had a chance to prove yourself as a part of a team - what did that involve?

Ravneek UBS invited 73 winners of the trading game to spend the weekend at Eastnor Castle on the Welsh border, which is a fantastic location. We had to do a series of challenges that tested us on both our individual skills and our ability to work in a team. The activities included solving puzzles, archery, clay pigeon shooting, and riding along a zip-wire from the top of the castle. It was all very competitive.

What was the best bit?

Michelle The whole weekend was brilliant, but I particularly enjoyed an activity that involved one person driving a Land Rover blindfolded, while the rest of the team directed him. It forced us to work as a team. It also tested our leadership skills because it only worked if one person spoke at a time.

Maxim The best thing was meeting people from four universities. Oxford is one of the few universities that doesn't offer economics on its own so it was interesting to meet people from pure economics and engineering backgrounds. Also, the zip-wire was amazing!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Michelle The leap of faith, where I had to jump off a very tall pole! I have a slight fear of heights but the rest of my team encouraged me with a countdown, which really helped.

What skills did you learn from the experience?

Maxim I've never done challenges like that before so it taught me more about interaction with people and the need to show leadership whilst treating everyone equally.

Michelle It taught me how to work well in a mixed team. I learnt that boys can be louder than girls so girls have to make an extra effort to get their voices heard.

Where next?

Maxim I'm interested in applying for UBS Horizons and a summer internship, which would give me a detailed view of UBS. It'd be great to have a job offer before the end of my course.

Michelle Right now, I'm considering a choice between investment banking and law but I have another year or so in which to decide. What the UBS Challenge has done is made me sure that I want to work in a team environment.

Ravneek I've applied for UBS Insights, the firm's Spring week, and I'm hoping that participating in the UBS Challenge will support my application. As a result of this experience and the research I have done into the business, I'd like to go into sales and trading.

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