Beat the Bulldog at Investing: Stock Game Introduces PPL Energy Plus Trading Room

by Katherine Kusik '15 | Jul 15, 2014

This spring, the Beat the Bulldog Stock Trading program came to a close. The winner of the contest was junior Curtis Cappucino.

“I got interested in the trading stocks program because I am an accounting and finance major and I wanted the experience,” said Cappucino. “It was a great learning experience and it just so happened that I had the highest return.”

The Beat the Bulldog Trading Program was open to anyone who was willing to join. Bradley Barnhorst, assistant professor of business, created the program to launch the new PPL Energy Plus Trading Room and give students, faculty and staff some experience in trading stocks because he believes it is a necessary life skill.

“I think the contest went well, and I look forward to running it again next year,” said Barnhorst. “We had more than thirty participants, including students and faculty. Eight participants were successful at beating the Bulldog's portfolio, which was selected by the Bulldog throwing darts at a list of stocks from the Wall Street Journal.”

Many students that participated in the program had never traded stocks before, including Cappucino.

“I haven’t previously done anything in the stock market before the competition,” said Cappucino. “I applied what I learned from finance classes that I have taken at DeSales and it worked out pretty well.”

Playing the real stock market is tricky business for even the most intelligent and experienced people. Barnhorst set up the program so that you could invest with fake money, Bulldog Bucks, and learn from the experience.

“I didn't really use a strategy except for buying stocks when the Dow Jones was low, and I selling them once the Dow Jones rallied,” said Cappucino. “It didn't always work, but it seemed to be the most efficient strategy.  It also helped to read the news of companies that you own stock in so you know when to sell them or buy more.”

Criminal justice major Paul Gormly has been interested in personal finance for some time and he saw this program as a perfect opportunity expand his knowledge on the subject.

“The actual computer program that we used was a little tricky to figure out,” said Gormly. “But once I figured it out it was up to me to create the best portfolio out there.”

As a piece of advice for the students who are interested in the program in the future, Cappucino said, “I advise other people to diversify their portfolios.  I lost a lot of money from having a high weighted average in one company.  Fortunately, the company rallied and I was able to cut my losses at a small price while having large gains in other companies.  As an investor, you can't be afraid to lose money, but in the end, your gains need to be more than your losses.”

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