Algorithmic Trading: From Theories to a Scholarship

Master of Finance Student Scores Prestigious Award for Work on Social Media Monitoring

How does social media translate into predicting the success of stocks? For Ben Cartwright, a Master of Finance student at the College of Business, that seemed like a natural question to ask. When he couldn’t find an answer, he did what any enterprising graduate-level finance student would do: He dug into the problem himself.

It wasn’t mere curiosity that led Ben to exploring the performance of stocks. Ben has worked on developing algorithms to aid in the process in the past.

Using the analytical and logic skills he previously honed, he applied them into stocks and social media posts with hopes of predicting a stock’s performance to its performance on social media platforms.

“My algorithm might buy a stock if there are more social media posts than average and sell if there are less than average,” he explained.

Using a web scraper, an automated tool to harvest data from social media platforms, his system monitors the attention those posts are getting. Cartwright hopes he can then develop a clearer idea of which stocks will thrive and which will not.

“I’m going to build a web scraper to track social media mentions about ‘x’ stock on Twitter and Reddit and all that, and see if there’s any correlation,” he said.

“My algorithm might buy a stock if there are more social media posts than average and sell if there are less than average.”

While Cartwright hopes his insights into computer-aided trading may profit in the market, they’ve already given him a payout: He recently received the Dan Calugar Finance Scholarship, a prestigious award given to students who showcase exceptional skills in the areas of algorithmic trading. Cartwright received the $10,000 scholarship for his work and essay explaining the impact his algorithms could have.

“I wrote an essay about how you’re going to exploit some inefficiency in the market, and how you would write an algorithm to exploit that,” Cartwright said.

With an interest in finance before coming to the College, Cartwright decided to apply for the scholarship after hearing about it from one of his mentors in the finance program. Soon after, he was given the news and said he was elated to receive the recognition.

“It was kind of a shock at first, honestly,” he recalls the moment he heard he earned the scholarship. “I was driving to move here, and I got a call the day after I applied for the scholarship, and I was given the congratulations.” Ben says he is beyond grateful for the opportunity to have his education paid for.

As Cartwright begins the process of going through different platforms with the web scraper, of which he has just now finished on Yahoo finance, he is working towards implementing this across mediums to monitor the performance of stocks and sites. Although he is just getting started, he says he anticipates continuing to grow his trade and furthering his expertise in the field, especially at a place like the College of Business.