Top Trader Stock Market Competition

Purpose of the Top Trader Competition

The main purpose of this program is to help you gain a better understanding of investments and personal finance. The contest will take place during June and July and will test you against other high school students. The goal is to make the smartest trades and gain the most money. The only thing required to take part in this competition is computer access.


Quick Links

  • Program Overview
  • Financial Education
  • Faculty Videos
  • Program Testimonials
  • Program in the Media

4rd Annual Top Trader Competition

Using web-based software, you will make virtual trades with $1 million of virtual money. UT Dallas finance professors will be available to answer questions. At the end of the summer, you may win one of the great prizes.

In addition to winning iPads and thousands of dollars in cash prizes, you will have the opportunity to watch videos, take assessments, and earn certificates in investments and personal finance.

The Details

  • Cost is $35 per student for those signing up by May 25, 2014; cost is $40 through June 4th, 2014.
  • Contest is conducted 100% online and campus attendance is not required to participate.
  • Competition runs Friday, June 6, 2014, through Wednesday, August 6, 2014. Note: trading will officially start on Monday, June 9, 2014.
  • A computer with a high-speed internet connection is required to access the web-based trading program.
  • Contest open to only high school students who will be freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors during the 2014-2015 school year.
  • Prizes will be awarded to individuals who place in the “Elite 10″ during the Awards Banquet.
  • To participate one must be a legal resident or citizen and have a valid social security number.
  • An awards banquet and college day event will be held on Saturday, August 9th at the university.
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We believe that education in the areas of investments and personal finance is critical for students. We have put together four different certificates in order to help students understand some of the important areas within the field of finance.

Students will create an account with This will be very similar to an online college course where there will be different modules for the students to complete. Each module will have a completion exam that the students will take after watching videos and completing other resources. We use a combination of videos provided by the Khan Academy, Investopedia, The Life Foundation and videos and content created by UT Dallas faculty and others.

Completing Certificates by August 1, 2014 results in the participant receiving an additional virtual USD in their Portfolios on August 1, 2014. To earn 100,000.00 USD, a participant must complete level 1 of both the certificate of Basic Knowledge and the Certificate of Personal Finance. If the participant completes the level 2 certificates in both these topics, they will earn an additional virtual 100,000.00 USD for a combined total of virtual 200,000.00 USD.

Another Competition Prize

Once a student completes the required video list and makes an 80% on each exam (4 chances), he/she will be placed in a drawing for other prizes. We will have a drawing for each certificate level.

Certificate of Basic Investment Knowledge Level I – Course Topics

  1. Introduction to interest
  2. Interest
  3. Time Value of Money
  4. Discounted Cash Flows
  5. Fundamental Cash Flows
  6. Introduction to Balance Sheets
  7. More on balance sheets and equity
  8. What it means to buy a company’s stock
  9. Price and Market Capitalization
  10. Introduction to the Income Statement
  11. Earnings and EPS
  12. Introduction to the Price-to-Earnings Ratio
  13. P/E Discussion
  14. Bonds vs. Stock
  15. Introduction to Compound Interest
  16. Annual Percentage Rate and Effective Annual Rate
  17. Introduction to Bonds
  18. Relationship between bond prices and interest rates
  19. Open-Ended Mutual Fund
  20. Closed-End Mutual Funds
  21. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
  22. Does short selling work?
  23. Diversification and Correlation

Certificate of Basic Investment Knowledge Level II – Course Highlights

  1. Complete Level I of Basic Investment Knowledge
  2. Shorting a Stock
  3. Put Options
  4. Call Options
  5. Currency Exchange and Trading
  6. Futures Contracts
  7. Hedge Funds
  8. Hedge Fund Strategies
  9. The Yield Curve
  10. Efficient Market Hypothesis
  11. Credit Default Swaps
  12. Mortgage Backed Securities
  13. Beta, CAPM and Standard Deviation
  14. Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst

Certificate of Personal Finance Knowledge Level I – Course Highlights

  1. Introduction to interest
  2. Introduction to Compound Interest
  3. The Rule of 72 for Compound Interest
  4. Renting vs. Buying a Home
  5. Renting vs. Buying a Home (part 2)
  6. Leasing vs. Buying a Car
  7. 401(k)s
  8. Traditional IRAs
  9. Roth IRAs
  10. Payday Loans
  11. Credit and Debt
  12. Budgeting
  13. Financial Planning for Teens
  14. Introduction to Taxes

Certificate of Personal Finance Knowledge Level II – Course Highlights

  1. Complete Level I of Personal Finance Knowledge
  2. Term vs. Whole Life Insurance
  3. Estate Planning and Taxes
  4. Human Capital
  5. Disability and Long-Term Care Insurance
  6. Personal Bankruptcy: Chapters 7 and 13
  7. Risk Tolerance
  8. Calculating Needs for Financial Goals
  9. Becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional

Meet Some Faculty, Staff and Students at the Naveen Jindal School of Management

Yes, the competition is about investing and winning great prizes, but another big part of the competition is the educational component and meeting faculty and students at JSOM. The Jindal School of Management wants to make sure that all contestants acquire valuable financial knowledge that can be used later in life. 

The faculty members and students below took time out to share what they wished they had learned about personal finance before college. Please take some time to view their videos and learn some important lessons.

Matt Polze

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students

Professor Polze teaches business law at UT Dallas and also serves as one of the Associate Deans of Undergraduate Education. Watch and listen to Professor Polze discuss the important of education and the economic impact it provides to students.

Caryn Statman, M.Ed., LPC

Associate Director of the Davidson Management Honors Program

Ms. Statman teaches professional development and is the Associate Director of the Davidson Management Honors Program. Listen to Ms. Statman as she explains what she wished she would have learned more about in college; specifically credit and student loans.

David Cordell, CFP®, CFA, PhD,

Clinical Professor of Finance

Dr. Cordell teaches investments, insurance and financial planning at UT Dallas. He also serves as the Associate Area Coordinator for Finance. Watch and Listen to Dr. Cordell talk about his investment philosophies

Jennifer Johnson, CPA

Director of Graduate Accounting

Professor Johnson helps students at the Jindal School of Management to become Certified Public Accountants. She serves as the program director for the graduate accounting programs. Professor Johnson said she wished she would have learned more about credit cards and how to get in a good habit of saving.

D’Ric Jackson

Psychology Student

D’Ric Jackson is a psychology student at UT Dallas and helps in the finance area as a student worker.

Monica Powell, PhD.

Associate Dean of Graduate Education

Dr. Powell serves as the Associate Dean of Graduate Education at the Jindal School of Management. She helps oversee the school’s nationally recognized graduate and MBA programs.  Dr. Powell discusses some money lessons she learned early in life that she still uses today.

Marilyn Kaplan, PhD

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students

Dr. Kaplan serves as the Dean of Undergraduate Students at the Jindal School of Management. She also teaches courses in business and works directly with students to ensure they are satisfied with their education experience at UT Dallas. Watch and listen to Dr. Kaplan talk about budgeting and planning. Dr. Kaplan says that planning ahead is the most important thing she learned about.

Mary Beth Goodrich, CPA

Senior Lecturer and Faculty Advisor of Ascend

Professor Goodrich teaches accounting at the Jindal School of Management and is the faculty advisor of Ascend. Watch and listen to her talk about the one thing she wished she would have learned more about when she going through college.

Dee Ellington, M.S. , M.A

Assitant Director of Recruitment

Ms. Ellington helps oversee the recruiting efforts in the Jindal School of Management. She helps students understand what great opportunities are available for students at UT Dallas. Watch and listen to Ms. Ellington discuss why she thinks that understanding credit is important.

John Barden, CPA

Director of Undergraduate Accounting Programs

Professor Barden teaches accounting and serves as the program director for the undergraduate accounting program. Watch and listen to Professor Barden talk about a great way to accumulate wealth by using technology

You have probably already heard a lot of the great things the competition provides, but here are some testimonials from former competitors and the President of the DFW Financial Planning Association.

Cliff Layfield
President, DFW Financial Planning Association

This is the DFW Financial Planning Association’s second year to endorse the competition. Watch and listen to Mr. Layfield, President of the DFW FPA, talk about the benefits of financial planning, the DFW FPA and the Top Performer Competition.

Jonathan Stern
2011 Participant – 1st Place "Top Performer"

Jonathan was the Top Performer of the 2011 competition and posted an amazingly impressive 43% gain. Jonathon was rewarded with a $2,000 cash prize for winning the competition. He was a junior last year, but plans to compete again this year.

Julie Yoon
2011 Participant – 3rd Place

Julie Yoon competed in the first annual Top Performer Competition and earned 3rd place. She was able to invest $1 million and grow it by almost 30% during last summer. She had an ending portfolio value of $1,294,000 and received an iPad 2 for her efforts. She also received certificates in Basic Investment Knowledge and Basic Financial Literacy.

Joel Spreier
2011 Participant 132nd Place (but still learned and had fun!)

Joel Spreier participated in the competition in 2011 so that he could learn more about investing and finance. Prior to the competition, he had no experience with investing. Joel is a shining example of how the competition can teach students about investing and finance even without winning prizes. Joel explained that he learned more important items in the stock market such as the risk that comes along with speculative investing. The biggest item that Joel learned from the competition that real investing is a long term approach and that making quick money in the market isn’t easy.

Top Performer Competition in the Media

Why Investors Diversify – Knowledge @ Wharton HS

UTD Talks Stocks With High Schoolers NBC DFW (2011)

Trading Contest Aims to Make Teens Market-Savvy – UT Dallas News Center (2011)

Teen in Contest Rides Wild Market to 43% Gain – UT Dallas News Center (2011)