Name: Daniel Baruch
“The professors here were able to answer some questions I had about the competition. All the professors here are very approachable. They all have office hours. I can always send them an email and I’ll always get an email back. You have very accessible knowledge here at Queens.”
– Daniel Baruch
Queens College student Daniel Baruch and two of his classmates turned $500,000 of virtual money into $2.6 million in just four weeks to win the 2017 TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim Challenge, besting more than 930 teams from across the country.
Baruch and his teammates used an event-based investment strategy, which attempts to take advantage of temporary stock mispricing that can occur before or after a market-moving event. The strategy paid off. The trio led for nearly the entire four weeks of competition, falling behind only briefly on the penultimate day; a flurry of day trades on the final day put them well ahead of the second-place team. They finished with a 427 percent return on their investment and they each earned $3,000 and an iPad Pro as a reward.
Baruch took a circuitous route to get to this point, changing majors like he was trading stocks. He started out as an applied physics major and experimented with meteorology. Then, through the CUNY BA Program—which allows students to design their own major—Baruch created one he called public markets and global conflicts.
He came to Queens College because he thought a liberal arts college would help to give him a broader understanding of the world. “At QC, you’re not just surrounded by a diverse population, but you’re also surrounded by a diversity of knowledge,” he says. “You have everyone from drama and graphic design majors to applied physics students. That’s a strength of the school.” He also credits the accessibility of QC professors with helping his team to win the competition.
Since the contest, Baruch has leveraged his success into managing real accounts for other people. He hopes to eventually start a wider hedge fund or to continue trading and develop it into something greater than himself.