Newswise — University of West Florida Lewis Bear Jr. College of Business students took home a first-place win at the 2024 Southeastern Hedge Fund Strategy Competition. The competition is hosted by the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. The student team beat out students from 28 other universities, including Duke, University of Florida and University of Texas. The two students will split a $10,000 award.

“UWF has been the only Florida school in the finals for the last few years,” said Dr. K.C. Ma, Mary Ball Washington/Switzer Bros endowed professor of finance in UWF’s Lewis Bear Jr. College of Business who was the students’ advisor. “UWF just beat 28 universities from eight different countries, including University of York, University of British Columbia, and Queen’s University Belfast to become No.1 in the global competition.”

The team included MBA student Ada Turemis and Aaron Korel, an undergraduate accounting and finance major. Korel and Turemis submitted their paper, “A Bullwhip Strategy,” via the competition website in early March. All submissions were reviewed and scored by a panel of investment professionals. As top five finalists, Korel and Turemis traveled to Atlanta and presented their paper on April 25. They were announced as the winners that evening.

“With the incredible support of our faculty advisor Dr. Ma and college faculty, we were able to produce a strategy and presentation that we are very proud of,” Korel said. “We had the chance to go to Atlanta and present our strategy to a group of high-level investment professionals and other finalist students from all over the world. It was especially enriching to talk to established hedge fund managers about our research process, application of our strategy and the state of the financial world today.”

The competition gives students the chance to apply theory to practical strategy. All submissions are scored on six criteria: sound economic hypothesis, novelty, implementation, risk mitigation, liquidity and capital considerations and methodology.  

“It was not only an incredible learning experience but also a great networking opportunity that prepared us for the next step in our financial careers,” Turemis said. “We are very grateful and proud to have won first place among a very accomplished, impressive group of students. With the outstanding mentorship and skills that were provided to us by the College of Business, we were proud to represent UWF on such a respected, international platform.”

For more information about UWF Lewis Bear Jr. College of Business, visit