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First of Its Kind

Doha Virtual Stock Market


For a few weeks this past spring, fortunes were made — and lost — at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. Virtual fortunes, that is.

Twenty-two teams, made up of 67 students, faculty and staff, traded stocks, made money, lost money and tried to figure out how the stock market works in a first-of-its-kind virtual Doha Stock Market.

"We wanted to give Carnegie Mellon students what they deserve — something new, interesting and fun," said Siddharth Arora, a junior business administration student who conceived the idea with classmate Saad Al-Matwi.

"There are a lot of games that simulate the U.S. Stock Market, but we wanted to make it more relevant to our classmates and that's why we created the first virtual simulation of the Doha Stock Market."

Arora and Al-Matwi took their idea for a local stock market competition to business administration professor J. Patrick McGinnis. He encouraged them to collaborate with computer science students to bring their idea to fruition.

"When we put business administration and computer science on the ground together in Qatar, this was this kind of real-world collaborations that we hoped would form," said McGinnis.

"This original idea grew out of need and interest. It's an excellent opportunity for students from two different disciplines to collaborate in a way that approximates a situation they could encounter in their professional lives. This is what the Carnegie Mellon education is all about."

The game was based on the actual Doha Stock Market, which consists of 42 local companies. Teams were given initial capital of QR 150,000 to buy or sell stocks in real time.

Though the real Doha Securities Market is only open from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., stocks in the virtual game could be traded 24 hours a day. Exactly like on the real Doha Securities Market, each trade was subject to a QR 30 commission.

"We did that to make it as real as possible and so that people would take it seriously," said Al-Matwi.

Interest in the game was so overwhelming that it was extended from two weeks to more than one month. Students sent each other text messages about their holdings — studying the Doha Stock Market and how it works.

"Everyone who played the game gained a whole new realization of the value of money and what it takes to earn and maintain a lucrative stock portfolio," Arora said. "People were studying the Doha Securities site and have begun taking a more active interest in the local economy."

Arora and Al-Matwi — both members of cmBA, the Carnegie Mellon Business Association club — are now considering offering the program as a tool to teach local high school students about stock trading.

Related Links: Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar  |  Tepper School of Business  |  School of Computer Science

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