Story by Doug Carroll
GCU News Bureau
Photos by Ernie Scarbrough
Depending on your perspective, it's either a relief or a disappointment that the annual Stock Market Challenge game is played with fake money.
Teams from GCU experienced either side of the coin Thursday night in the spirited two-hour event, a fundraiser for Junior Achievement of Arizona, at the Sheraton in downtown Phoenix. A cavernous ballroom at the hotel hosted 58 corporate and collegiate teams, all wheeling and dealing in a simulation of two months' worth of trading.
With one trading day lasting only 80 seconds, that left little room for teams to dicker or dither. Three large screens flashed graphs, stock prices and market news to inform the players, who then flagged down traders to make their moves.
"You can't sit on your decisions," said Dr. Ernie Scarbrough, on hand to cheer and occasionally advise his two teams of financial management students as they tried to win the University Division for GCU for a second successive year.
It wasn't to be, however, as a team from DeVry took the college trophy. GCU's Team 2, consisting of Doug Jacobs, Monica Agustin, Julia Salvador and Vanessa Abarca, finished second in the division and 15th overall. Team 1, with Orion Bullock, Alan Van Lohn, Scott Aikman and Milovan Mancia, was 42nd overall. All of the students are seniors.
A team of GCU finance staffers, calling themselves The Old 'Lopes and captained by Rick Volk, held the overall lead at various times and finished second at the wire.
"We bet on IPOs and lost on two of them but made a lot on a third one, and that's pretty realistic," said Volk, acknowledging that his team might have taken advantage of the opportunity to receive $150,000 in fake stock for each donation of $100 (in real money) to Junior Achievement.
The outcome was in doubt until the very end, when the Scottsdale Football Hooligans pulled out the victory. Their portfolio was worth $2,603,344 compared to $2,050,283 for the Old 'Lopes, whose other members were Chris Niezgodski, John Kemper and Jake Lambert.
The three teams from GCU were good-natured rivals all evening.
"Kemper said the only thing that matters is that (the students) come out on top of the University Division," Scarbrough said. "And I said, 'No, the only thing that matters is that they beat you.'"
The event provides students with valuable networking opportunities and a taste of corporate culture.
"They get to see business people competing, how they dress, talk and enjoy playing together," Scarbrough said.
That was nice, Bullock agreed, but he was still disappointed that his Team 1 slid all the way from 11th place at the end of the first month to 42nd.
"We had the worst luck," he said as the student teams gathered afterward at a central Phoenix restaurant. "Everything we sold went up, and everything we bought went down.
"We got our rear ends handed to us."
Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].