Finance professor and economics professor team up to create new stock trading game

The Dicle-Levendis Trading Game, a simulated stock market game created by Mehmet Dicle, finance professor, and John Levendis, economics professor, teaches finance students the basics of investment portfolio management.

"It's one thing to learn how to trade stocks by reading a book and it's another thing to actually pick stocks," Levendis said. "We hope students learn from the simulator the practical knowledge of how trading and portfolio construction works."

The DL-Trading Game is an online educational tool where students can buy and sell stocks, manage and assess their portfolio risk and compare their portfolios to their classmates, Dicle said.

The game is also linked to real-time stock data that gives students instant feedback on their assets. The game is unique because unlike other simulations, where everyone competes against each other, our trading game promotes cooperation and learning, Dicle said.

"Our game helps with teamwork because you can't have any free riders," Dicle said. "Once a stock is selected by a person, that stock cannot be bought by somebody else. You have to come up with something based on what you've learned from the group instead of just by mimicking someone else's trading strategy."

The goal of the game is to minimize risk instead of increase profits, Levendis said.This is also the basis for Dicle's grading structure.

"As an investor, you can't guarantee returns but you can guarantee that you will minimize risks," Levendis said. "If you buy Wal-Mart, which tends to do well during a recession and another stock like International Business Machines that tends to go down during a recession, the losses offset the gains so you're not as likely to lose much."

It's not about the profits but about the students reaching their expected goal, Dicle said, referring to his own use of the DL-Trading Game in testing out his investments in the actual stock market.

"My objective is to have zero risk with 10 percent return no matter what happens," Dicle said. "If the market goes up 100 percent today, I could care less because I still have my 10 percent.

Students can create as many portfolios as they want to test out the game before submitting their work, Levendis said.

Students are expected to turn in one portfolio to Dicle, who also grades based on whether they met the expectation of buying a certain number of stocks from certain places.

Students can always try again and are expected to learn from previous submissions, Levendis said. However they have to pick completely new stocks for their new portfolio instead of just re-using the same stocks.

In this course, students decide what to buy and sell with their student-managed portfolio. Dicle's class prepares students for Christner's course but also for life, Levendis said.

"With his class, you can actually take what you've learned and implement it risk free through the game," he said. "By the time you're a senior you can play with real money for credit and then when you graduate, you're a skilled investor playing with your own money or working in finance managing other people's funds,." Dicle said.

"If you and I can manage our money correctly we can have a decent life and we could make the most out of our money. What's not to like?"