On a cold Friday evening at Saint Paul Preparatory School of Seoul, I, myself, and three other high school students came together to begin something historical. Many international school students are well aware of extracurricular activities and various tournaments such as athletic competitions and business competitions where they can show off their individual talents aside from mere academics. What many Korean students do not know and never heard of is the investment competition run by the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.
Every year, the Wharton School hosts a free, online investment competition that allows any high school student with a laptop and more than three other members to become an investor. The goal of this event is to globally teach young students the proper fundamentals of investing. This year, I decided to establish an investment club at my school and compete at this very competition.
I say historical because professionally learning to invest at this young age is unconventional for any high school student, especially those students in South Korea. Before actually placing any trades on OTIS, an online trading system used in this competition, we partnered up with Snowball Asset, an asset management firm in Korea, to first learn to invest at the basic level. Towards the end of January, our team will start to virtually buy shares of companies that we thoroughly analyzed and deem profitable and safe financially. With all our data, we are required to submit a mid-competition report and a team portfolio for the competition judges to see our tracks throughout the event.
What OTIS looks like (certain parts have been cropped out for confidentiality of this competition).
The core purpose of this event is not to see which team can earn the most profit. Rather, the very intent is to see who can invest and trade in the most efficient and strategic way that is both safe and rational. Such an attribute of the investment competition distinguishes itself from all the other ones, which focus mainly on which team has more money in their virtual trading account at the end of the competition.
John Lee, a renowned Korean fund manager and currently the CEO of Meritz Asset Management, once claimed in 2015 during his interview with Hankuk Finance that the stability of the Korean stock market is no different from that of the market in Myanmar, a underdeveloped nation with low GDP per capita and welfare standards. He added on to say that many Koreans have no clear idea of what investing is and they treat it as ‘gambling at a casino’. As one of fortunate MEDCs (more economically developed countries), South Korea needs to discipline the youth with the right investment principles and knowledge, according to Mr. Lee.
John Lee of Meritz Asset Management
The respectable CEO could not be more accurate on his take of the Korean stock market and the Korean citizens’ current knowledge of the stock industry. And, this competition is a great way to foster young kids with the correct investment principles just like what Mr. Lee said Korea should do. My team and I are excited to take on this journey and hopefully become the next ‘Wolves’ of Yeouido.
Our team (from left to right: Myself, Yoonjoo Eunice Chung, David Hunjae Chung, William Song)
Seungjin Jordan Choi
Saint Paul Preparatory School
Seungjin Choi email@example.com
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