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Algorithmic Trading Makes Its Debut In B-School

Artificial intelligence is quickly influencing how we live, work, and play, Now, AI is making its way into b-school curriculum.

The newest course at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School? Algorithmic trading.

Lindsay Fortado, a contributor at Financial Times, reports that Oxford’s new six-week introductory course will “provide students with an insight into successful trading strategies using computer algorithms, and the ability to decide whether a hedge fund that uses them is worth investing in.”

The course is the first of its kind in business education.

“This is an area where technology, big data and finance collide,” Nir Vulkan, an associate professor of business economics at Oxford Saïd who leads the algorithmic trading program, tells FT. “It’s relevant now more than ever, because of the increase in automation and because systematic funds have been gaining more momentum and becoming more popular, while artificial intelligence and machine learning are getting better.”

How Algorithmic Trading Is Changing The Game

Machine learning and artificial intelligence have grown quickly. And the technology is quickly influencing the efficiency and profitability of market trading.

“Trading occurs at an immense pace, making it impossible for a human trader to stay on top of everything,” according to Oxford’s Saïd business school. “Algorithmic trading strategies differ to manual trading where you will be susceptible to human emotion. The algorithmic trading system removes human emotion and irrational decisions from the market.”

With algorithmic trading strategies, there are fewer mistakes, faster trades, and lower transactions costs.

Shobhit Seth, a contributor at Investopedia, illustrates an example where algorithmic trading comes into play:

Suppose a trader follows these simple trade criteria:

  • Buy 50 shares of a stock when its 50-day moving average goes above the 200-day moving average. (A moving average is an average of past data points that smooths out day-to-day price fluctuations and thereby identifies trends.) 
  • Sell shares of the stock when its 50-day moving average goes below the 200-day moving average.

With algorithmic trading, Seth says, the stock price is automatically monitored and orders are placed and sold when the defined conditions are met.

“The trader no longer needs to keep watch for live prices and graphs, or put in the orders manually,” Seth writes. “The algorithmic trading system automatically does it for him, by correctly identifying the trading opportunity.”

What Oxford’s Course Will Give Students

Oxford’s course aiims to give students an understanding of the rules that drive successful algorithmic trading strategies.

According to the program’s website, the course will give students the following skills:

  • The ability to illustrate the methodologies used to model trading strategies for different types of financial markets.
  • An understanding of the fundamentals of classical and behavioural finance and how theoretical trading models are applied in practice.
  • The ability to formulate a view on the relationship between emerging technologies and the future of systematic trading.
  • The opportunity to assess the efficacy of an algorithmic trading model within a live environment or real-world market circumstance.
  • An understanding of the historical and current state of systematic trading as well as the key challenges and opportunities faced by the industry.

Oxford’s course started on July 25th and will last eight weeks.

Sources: Financial Times, Investopedia, University of Oxford

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