(Feb. 3, 2016) - On Wednesday, Jan. 27 the H-E-B School of Business & Administration (HEBSBA) at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) crowned two masters of the market. Winners of the UIW Investor Challenge and the Jefferson Bank Investor Challenge were recognized for their dedication to portfolio management.

Senior finance major Maximiliano Balli was awarded the top prize of $500 for finishing with the highest grossing portfolio in the First annual UIW Investor Challenge. Balli ended the competition with a $1,359.014 portfolio total, an impressive 36% return rate.

The UIW Investor Challenge attracted more than 130 students from 15 undergraduate programs including engineering management, biology, psychology and music. Participants were given $1 million in a virtual portfolio housed in the stock market simulation software StockTrak.

Participants spent three months monitoring the ebb and flow of the world’s markets. For Balli, the most crucial resources for smart investing are information, patience and strong coffee: “I would usually check the Asian markets in the middle of the night, figure out how the European markets were going to open through the sentiment, see how Europe opened, check U.S. futures and then finally trade.”

Although there was only one first place prize, Balli referenced the collaborativeness of the competitors, a sharp contrast to the Gordon Gekko-esque trading style of Wall Street megalomania. “I have a lot of respect for my competitors,” said Balli. “I know a lot of them personally and professionally, so we bounced a lot of ideas off of one another.”

Holmes High School junior Stephanie Serrato was also recognized for her achievement of first place in the Jefferson Bank Investor Challenge. A novice to investment strategy, Serrato took a veterans approach to managing the market. “My key strategy was risk. I did a lot of research, but many of my trades came down to having faith. I had to have faith the company was going to perform,” said Serrato. In only a few months, Serrato managed a 10% return on investment.

Also in its inaugural year, the Jefferson Bank Investor Challenge is a week long, intensive financial education program that brings together students from area high schools for sessions in financial management and investing. Students cover a broad set of topics including personal goal setting, the importance of budgeting, how to save and invest, stock selection techniques, investment diversification, and financing a college education.

The second iteration of the Jefferson Bank Investor Challenge will begin June 2016 and the UIW Investor Challenge August 2016.