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Trade Talk Blog: The Big Five-O

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“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and
look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
-Ferris Bueller

It seems with every milestone comes a little reflection. Like Ferris said, life moves pretty fast, and there are times when (if only for a moment) you have to sit back and reflect on what just happened.

And so it is as TT’s University Program adds a 50th school to its roster of university partners. The list continues to grow and spans ten countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The future looks bright, but taking a look at the past reaffirms how we got here and why.

Like any company, TT wants satisfied customers and motivated employees. In the same vein, graduates seek fulfilling employment and companies want talented students. The place to start satisfying these needs is on the college campus.
In a Wall Street Journal editorial last September, Terry Duffy, executive chairman and president of the CME Group, pointed out the need to reach out to university students and promote careers in finance. Mr. Duffy said, “I have deep concerns about where the financial services industry is going if we’ve lost our ability to connect to those people.” He went on to say, “Those of us in leadership positions in the industry will have to spend as much time in classrooms as we do in boardrooms to rebuild lost trust.”

Students, universities and the industry at large need to be on the same page since the objective of the three sides is to work together to make one triangle.

TT representatives often guest lecture at University Program partner schools.

Enter TT’s University Program. The vision was and is to use what TT brings to the market to assist universities as they educate students in business, engineering and computer science. Universities know education, and we know our markets and our products. If there is a way we can be of assistance, we are happy to help. That assistance can come in many forms, from donating our software to speaking engagements to supporting the creative thinking of the university whenever possible.

As the program grew, the vision became reality. The results have been interesting and exciting. I’ve had the opportunity to speak on campuses from Houston, TX  to Haifa, Israel and, along the way, see our software contribute to university labs and curriculum. Students have experienced the markets through trading and have had the opportunity to take their strategies from whiteboard to live markets using our automated trading tools. Resources available at schools vary, so our partners have used our software to varying degrees. For some it is available for students to explore, while for others it is part of the curriculum. Through the program, schools that share our vision have benefitted from our support.

The partnership has provided a number of benefits for our company as well. Our software’s use in university labs and classrooms gives the next generation of market professionals exposure to the markets that goes beyond the textbook. Schools like Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia have given me the opportunity to speak to and train their students. This in turn promotes our company as we help educate our industry’s next generation.

Schools also provide us with valuable feedback when they use our products. Usually after experiencing our software, students and faculty will request specific functionality, which in some cases aligns with what our customers want. Their experience with using products like X_TRADER® and ADL® or writing to our TT API provides us with feedback that helps us provide our customers with software that is more intuitive, robust and user-friendly.

Trading competitions that we support give us exposure to the participants as well as the companies that sponsor the event. For example, Tulane University’s Energy Trading Competition provided us with an opportunity to have students from the participating schools use our software in a competitive environment. It also created a liaison between TT and the event sponsors as many of them saw our software in action, then sought us out to talk about our products.

And then there are the students themselves. A number of students have told me that the expertise they developed while using our software at school assisted them as they launched their careers upon graduation. Their exposure to TT helped make them ready for the marketplace and made them more valuable to their employers.

In these instances, graduates are happy, employers are happy and TT is happy. You could say it’s a win-win-win situation.

So where do we go from here? As more and more quality schools partner with us, we look forward to continued momentum in the program. The vision however stays the same: to use our products to assist universities as they educate the next generation of industry professionals.