Trade Quest

The Trading Challenge, is a business-education partnership program operated in Bahrain under the auspices of the American Association of Bahrain(AAB). The program, now in its third successful and expanded year, was founded by the AAB and two dedicated economics teachers at the Bahrain School.

The TRADEQUEST directors are working to develop the program to meet four basic objectives. First, they set out to establish a program which stimulates relevant learning through realistic experience. Second, to build a foundation of financial principles at the high school level. Third, the program attempts to foster meaningful interaction between the business and education communities. Last, in consideration of Bahrain’s prominence as a financial center in the region TRADEQUEST seeks to create a broader understanding of the financial services sector in Bahrain.

The TRADEQUEST program was designed for high-potential Economics students at the high school level, and was piloted at Bahrain School in 1996, and has been expanded to include other schools in 1998. The 1998 Program includes teams from Bahrain School, Bayan School, Ibn Khaldoon National School and St. Christopher’s Senior School. The program is operated as a competitive financial simulation and is geared to give students realistic experience in the stock markets, with particular focus on understanding the markets, analyzing and selecting stocks and bonds, and managing of a portfolio of assets.

The business-education partnership aspect of the program is achieved through the sponsorship of each team of 5 students by businessmen from a prominent financial institution in Bahrain. The TRADEQUEST 2000 teams are sponsored by Bahrain Middle East Bank, Bahrain International Bank, British Bank of the Middle East, Citibank, Investcorp and Merrill Lynch. The business executives from each of these institutions “coach” the student team members to help them develop trading strategies and to decide which stocks or bonds to buy and sell. The trading period runs from December thru March, and teams are measured by how well they manage their overall portfolio, and the profit they earn.

The Tradequest 2000 program also enjoys the support of The The Bahrain Stock Exchange. The teams will visit and interact with the BSE during the course of the trading period, thereby strengthening the realism of the overall experience.

Each team is capitalized with $4.0 million dollars of equity and must develop and present a strategy to an Investment Review Committee. Team members then work together to do the necessary analysis, buying and selling to make their strategy work. Periodically, they must report back to the committee on the progress of their portfolio. The Investment Review Committee, made up of business executives from the financial community, requires that the teams justify their strategies, explain their trades, and understand the strengths weaknesses of their portfolio. Team presentations and progress are evaluated on strategy, financial performance, teamwork and discipline.

Although there is a natural competitive emphasis on the financial performance of each team, everyone involved with the TRADEQUEST program is a winner.

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