The Rise of College Traders

BellaMike Bellafiore's (Bella's) Blogs24 Comments

SMB has five traders for our June class who already have proven active-trading records in college. We get emails from guys making serious money consistently and yet are in college. I have never seen this before. Do you see how many awesome blogs are out there written by college traders? I wrote an article recently about the thirst for trading education at universities and now my inbox is overflowing with very solid college traders sharing their stories. I love it! Who says you can’t start trading in college? How is that any different than Cam Newton working eight hours a day on his quarterback skills to gain a top draft spot (see great trading book here)? Or Jimmer Fredette working hours everyday on his basketball skills?

I sent my blog post on the thirst for more trader educa-tion in college to a host of colleges, some with whom I am very friendly. Not one school showed any interest in improving their trading education. I know of a few students working behind the scenes to make this happen and have hit some early roadblocks. Now I understand that most schools are facing very real cuts in their departments. And selling a new program is probably very difficult even for the most passionate of professors. I was a Trustee at The University of Connecticut and remember sitting with Dr. Mark Emmert, now President of the NCAA but formerly the Chancellor at UConn, explaining the difficult decisions he was forced to make on budgeting. Boy, is that a tough job! But all of that does not take away the tremendous new interest in trading for college students. Don’t we need to figure out a way to make sure those students are getting the education and ability to work on their trading game they so desire?

Trading firms in our space can help a little. SMB just started an in-house internship for college underclassmen to take our training program during a five week summer session. There will be two such sessions. Steve and I are toying with the idea of allowing active college traders access to our trading tools and our SMB AM meeting for free. Also, we will be putting together a seminar soon just for active college traders who want to learn more. College writers should continue to open up their new blogs and share. College traders should continue to create trading groups at their schools, following the work at Penn State. Traders must find the time to visit campuses and share their experiences, like Tadas Viskanti recently did at Indiana University. The StockTwits U blog is an awesome destination for interested young traders. In the meantime, students on campuses need to keep working behind the scenes, showing great respect to the decision-makers, to garner more trader curriculum.

As the markets become increasingly electronic, as foreign markets become more important and liquid, as more learn how to trade at a younger age, as a new generation of students with amazing coding skills invade the markets, electronic trading will be an increasingly attractive career. Since developed trading skills will be necessary to succeed. College traders will have to start sooner, trade more and gain access to better education to compete. Just like a D1 athlete seeking to turn pro. Now we just have to get them the education and ability to practice they need and deserve.

Mike Bellafiore

Author, One Good Trade

24 Comments on “The Rise of College Traders”

  1. I am a college student that finished the SMB foundation course a few months back. (Great program!) I love trading so much I decided to take a semester of online courses in order for me to trade full time and take the course. This semester I am still trading full time while taking night classes. I have recently tried to start a trading club, both in school and my city, but it has been quite difficult. If anyone has any tips on starting a club at your college please let me know! Thanks

  2. Though difficult to trade full time this semester due to 19 credit hrs I’m taking. However passion doesn’t get in my way, futures/fx open almost continuously… there’s so much to learn and practice. I have adapted to a longer time frame swing trading. Passion is what matters in the end. UIC in IU is doing a fantastic job gathering like minded traders together. Tadas, who came 2 weeks ago, a fantastic speaker and a great motivator. Mr. bellafiore, hopefully you can visit IU during Spring this year!

  3. I think athletes like Cam Newton are very lucky that their college experiences are structured around their passion. Sure they go to class, but their main priority is their sport and they have coaches and experts constantly helping them get better.

    Jack and Jose’s comments mimic my own feelings right now. Our passion is trading, but it is usually required that we excel in school so it is almost like two full-time jobs. Knowing which is the higher priority for scoring the job is difficult.

  4. Jose, I have some experience starting investment clubs. Feel free to e-mail me. lbreitst – at – indiana – .edu

  5. I will be at Indiana U on March 30 at 7PM for a discussion. Should be fun! Though I am taking an airline that is not known for its safety. So I call it 50/50 that I arrive.

  6. There are 2 things I regret not getting into in my college days: trading and real estate. I would have loved to intern with a trading firm or a real estate investor or just worked in their office bringing them coffee in exchange for teaching me trading or real estate investing. 🙂 So I think it’s really great SMB is getting into this. Trading can and should be taught as a career for those who have an aptitude for it and want to get into it professionally. We all were just so focused in getting through our courses, etc, I really wish someone had introduced me to this world back then.

    BTW, I read your book once, going to read it again. I’ve got a few trading books in my collection but I can’t recall a more enjoyable read. Some good anecdotes, valuable insight and lessons. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Jose, did you have any trading experience/knowledge when you took the SMB course? I’m wondering what the target audience is for that course. Thanks.

  8. Jose, did you have any trading experience/knowledge when you took the SMB course? I’m wondering what the target audience is for that course. Thanks.

  9. I’ve been running the trading club at my school for a few years now. We run it in conjunction with the finance dept. the finance professors give extra credit to students for participating. We have also secured investment capital from local donors that work with the university. This gives students an incentive to get involved. Attendance fluctuates and it requires a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun. @message me if you would like more info.


  10. I am in grad school and my hours are so volatile that I defer to paper trading (I am not able to make trading a priority because of classes). I can relate to the lack of time to make ‘one good trade’.

    I’m currently on spring break right now, so I’ve used this time to work Lightspeed’s demo from open to close.

  11. Great post Bella.

    I founded the trading club at Penn State last year and I would love to chat with other traders who are active in trading clubs or are interested in starting one at their schools.

    shoot me an email at mgunay [at] gmail [dot] com

  12. The course is designed in a way that it teaches both experienced traders and novices. It was a wonderful experience and I would love to take any future courses they offer.

  13. I started a club at UC Irvine this year and was even able to help out some students at UC San Diego start a trading club. 2 weeks ago, we had an event featuring a prop firm in Irvine with 70-75 in attendance. Not bad for a club that started with 1 member 😉 I have been surprisingly good at marketing to students who don’t have the slightest clue about markets.

    I have blogged about my efforts in running the club, if you want to borrow from my experience. — can tweet & email me too. Glad to see so many other student-traders out there — will be a great support system for the future generations of our clubs

  14. Yes, Peter’s event was great!! I loved it. Traders from Coastal Securities took the time to come out and teach some of their set-ups. As the head trader and founder of the UC san Diego Trading club, I was amazed with what Peter had created. Amazing website. Our group communicates through a quick and easy FB group which is open to everyone, but eventually I would love to get a website going. Thank you to SMB for sharing with the community, UCI Stat, UCSD Propriety Trading members and all the others across the nation. Cheers -Greg Magadini

  15. I’ll bet that if these student traders made money for their schools like athletic teams do then interest would appear very quickly.

  16. Well said. Cam Newton and others have the college revolving around their schedule/ease, and not vice-versa…I can also definitely agree that trading and going to school is like having 2 full-time jobs.

  17. University of Hawaii trader here good write up SMB i read your blog at 4am before the markets open here

  18. You’ve got plenty of traders and fans down here at Georgia Tech is you ever get the urge to head to the ATL! I’ve got 3 more years until I graduate, but in the mean time, you can check out my blog. Not as great yours, but it helps me retain information by writing it all down.


  19. Great post Mike! What grad schools would you recommend for prop trading? I get the great opportunity to be cashflow positive in any US grad program due to the GI bill and know I want to go into prop trading. I might go part time at night while trading during the day (if I can stick a position) or just go full time and grow my equity/skills.

    Any help would be really appreciated, from any poster!

    PS:I have been trading my way through undergrads for about a year now and could never think of a career other that trading now! It is pure nirvana.

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