FAQs

We know you have questions. Let’s see if we can help.

You can get all the information you need from the competition Guidebook. Don’t bother competing unless you read it!


Teams may begin registering for this year’s competition on August 6, 2018 through Sunday, September 9, 2018. OTIS trading for this year’s competition will begin on October 1, 2018 and end on December 7, 2018. All final strategies, regardless of region, are due on December 17, 2018.


High school-aged students (grades 9-12) around the world who are interested in business and finance and want to improve their knowledge and skills. You don’t need any experience with the stock market to participate; however, we do recommend that you have an advisor/teacher to help you navigate the articles, lesson plans and learning outcomes associated with the competition so you can achieve our ultimate goal with this game, which is learning while having fun. Classes of students can compete (in different teams of 4-7), or individual investment clubs, home-schooled students, as well as random groups of students who like a challenge and want to learn.


Each team must maintain a minimum of four team members and a maximum of seven members. Please take note of the change in maximum team members if you have competed with us before. Remember, each team member is responsible for at least one sector; all team members must play a contributing role. Students are not permitted to participate on multiple teams.


Then you are not eligible to participate. You must have at least four students, and all of you must be engaged in the process. We expect all competitors to conduct themselves ethically from the moment that you register for the KWHS Investment Competition. It’s not a great idea to add a fourth person to the registration in name only. That is cheating.


Yes. However, the schools must be from the same region. For example, a student from China cannot compete on a team from Canada.


Teams do not necessarily need to compete on behalf of a school, but for our purposes we ask that you designate a school that your team represents. Also, if a team wins the Global Competition and a financial prize is awarded, the prize must be designated to one specific school.


No. However, many teams do. Advisor/teachers are important motivators, as well as sources of information and insight. They often enrich the overall competition experience.


The student team leader is the main point of contact for each team. All communications and notifications will be sent to your team leader.


When registered advisors log into OTIS, click “Portfolios” and teams that linked you as their advisor will appear under the drop-down.


OTIS is Wharton’s Online Trading and Investment Simulator that is used for the KWHS Investment Competition to help students place trades and test their investment strategies. OTIS allows students to apply the concepts of investments and portfolio management in a hands-on learning environment while working with real-world data without risking real money. OTIS is currently managed by WRDS, which stands for Wharton Research Data Services.


Each team will be responsible for managing a portfolio of $100,000 in virtual cash.


Yes. OTIS should be used as a learning tool to test your strategies and to experience what it is like to place trades and be active stock market participants. These are fundamental aspects of this competition. A main principle of the competition is to improve your knowledge about investing and finance . You can’t navigate the competition without understanding sectors, industries and companies. You will build strategies from this research and you will place trades to become active investors. It is not enough to devise a strategy without putting your theories into practice through active trading.

Some of the key concepts you will be exposed to during the 10 weeks of the competition include company research and analysis, portfolio development, portfolio management, ratios, dividends, concepts like Porter’s Five Forces and many more, found in the competition resources. Research, strategy development and trading will help you explore all of these investing concepts in different and meaningful ways.


Only teachers and student team leaders have direct access to OTIS. On Tuesday, September 25, 2018, you will receive an email from KWHS that will include your log-in information for OTIS. You will not be able to access OTIS prior to September 25.


A key component of the KWHS Investment Competition is teamwork and communication. By designating a team leader, students must work together through all the issues of stock selection and strategy development. The team structure is also important to portfolio diversity. Each team member is responsible for a different industry sector, which ensures that your team portfolio of approved stocks is diversified.


Trading begins on October 1, 2018 and ends on December 7, 2018.


We are monitoring the trades that you make. If you trade outside the scope of the competition, your team will be disqualified. Please click the “KWHS” button under “Trade” in OTIS and you will see the full approved stock list.


You can void your trade IF it has not cleared. Go to “History” (located in the top navigation), select the link for your trade and select “Request Void”.

OTIS is a real-world simulation, so make sure you are carefully reviewing everything before you hit submit. If you make an error, we encourage you to run with it and not scramble to “fix” it. Trading errors are part of the learning process.


You should work out a contingency plan early in the game in case you run into issues. For example, possibly the team leader shares his or her log-in information with one or more team members.


No. The KWHS Investment Competition only involves the buying and selling of domestic equities, as well as several international equities. All teams must refer to the Approved Stock List for the equities that they are allowed to buy and sell.


Data in OTIS has a 20-minute delay from real-time. Equity orders placed during trading hours are filled with a delay that mimics the data feed delay and are based on exchange: NYSE, 20 minutes; NASDAQ, 15 minutes. For example, if a user places a trade for KO at 10:00 a.m., the order is filled at 10:20 a.m. at the 10:00 a.m. price.


No. There is more of a time delay on this type of trade – they will go through at the end of the next trading day. If I place a trade for an international equity at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, it will clear at the end of Tuesday. However, if I place a trade for IBM (A U.S. equity) at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, it should clear at 9:50 a.m.-ish on Tuesday (the U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST).


Yes. OTIS runs just like any real-world trading platform. Each transaction is charged a flat $25 commission. In order to get an accurate assessment of the profit and loss, students need to take that into consideration. A good way to do this is to look at the Positions page from the top-level menu in OTIS. The line items in the Positions page show the profit and loss for each position based on Book Value, which takes into account commission. It is that Book Value number that gets compared to Market Value to arrive at P&L.


OTIS provides real-world corporate actions such as dividends, stock splits, bond coupons, and so on. As such, students can expect to see dividends reflected in their portfolios at the time they are issued by the company.


OTIS includes a set of analytical tools that students can use to analyze the performance of their portfolios. The “Performance” section has a drop-down menu that lists a wide variety of data sets and analysis reports on portfolio performance.


Students can change their own portfolio names in the “Settings” button in the top right when they log into OTIS. Once they click on that button, they will see the option to change their portfolio name.


You must submit two deliverables throughout the competition in order to be considered an active team. The mid-project team review is due Monday, November 5, 2018 and the final report is due Monday, December 17. More information about both can be found in the Competition Guidebook


No. While the OTIS simulator is a valuable learning tool in our competition, your standings have little to do with the final outcome. Winners are selected on the strength and articulation of their overall investment strategies, not on the percentage growth of their portfolios, which is a key differentiator between this investment challenge and others.


The competition has three regional finals for the teams with the best written strategies from each region, and a global final, which brings together the top 3 winning teams from each region. The key to winning is to learn all you can, work together as a team, create a compelling and creative investment strategy to build your potential client’s wealth, and articulate that strategy and your overall competition experience in such a way that you captivate the judges. We don’t like to distribute sample winning investment strategies, but we do write about how the winners make it to the end game. If you’re really curious about what it takes to make it to the finals, we encourage you to do your research! The links below are full of info from past regional and global finals.


Please reach out to the KWHS team at the email that aligns with your competition region. Not sure what that is? Consult the regional breakdowns on the registration page.
Region 1, KWHS-Region3(at)wharton.upenn.edu
Region 2, KWHS-Region2(at)wharton.upenn.edu
Region 3, KWHS-Region3(at)wharton.upenn.edu


We want to hear from you! Be sure to follow us on Instagram @KWHSLife and on Twitter @WhartonHS and visit our Facebook page. Create a social media profile for your investment competition team and tag us in posts! We love to share the good news and hard work of all our teams throughout the competition. Good luck!


Knowledge@Wharton High School Investment Competitions