The entirety of Week 4 in Semester 1 wasn’t just a week when assignments were starting to pile up, but a rather triumphant string of events for the Monash University Investment Group’s annual MUIG week. Their ambitious, collective effort sprawled across 3 major events, namely their ‘Survival in the Metropolis’ board game tournament, a two-day investment talk, and an equity investment workshop.
Their first event, ‘Survival in the Metropolis’ took place on a rainy Monday afternoon. Half of the sports centre was turned into their tournament hall, where groups of four contestants, along with their ‘Banker’ sat around tables equipped with a set of this board game with the namesake of the event. Some participants sat around in silence, basking in the cold air conditioning, while others enjoyed their pregame chatter.
After settling the contestants down, MUIG’s Deputy MD, Shobhana briefed the floor about the game. The instructions were pretty simple: this board games works just like any other, you roll the dice, you take X number of steps, then you pick the card that corresponds to the tile you land on. It didn’t matter if you blew your monthly allowances at Sephora or on Steam, everyone was an investor on that day. Based on either Fate, or News, contestants got to roleplay as competing investors with teams across the floor, racing to become the wealthiest investor. To ensure everyone was on their feet, this tournament included real-time changes to market share prices. Just ask Science Rep Ethan, who lost 600 just by fate alone.
Turns out, the board was custom made for this event, not something you could buy at your local Toys”R”Us. Shobhana explained how she and her team aspired to create a gateway for anyone who wishes to kickstart, or even get a taste of the investment world through an approachable manner without sacrificing the harsh realities of the investment world, such as dealing with fate and changing economies. And MUIG was right, the tournament did not require their contestants to have any prior knowledge. For the few contestants we spoke to, this was definitely their first foray into investment.
Coming together to create a board game from scratch was definitely not an easy feat, as no one had prior experiences. Seeing how the contestants enjoyed themselves definitely rendered their efforts as rewarding.
Moving onto their other keystone event was their big investment talk on Wednesday.
I entered the plenary theatre, a 3 minute walk from our offices, and was greeted by a crowd of restless and almost definitely tired students (it was 5pm of a Wednesday). Most were there with friends (unsurprisingly) but some seemed to have shown up alone; and I set about asking some students on why they had decided to attend the talk. Answers varied, with one student explaining that he was already into the cryptocurrency hype, had invested in it and was there to learn more about the trend going forward from industry professionals; whilst others had no experience with cryptocurrency and were there to learn if they could cash in on what has arguably become the most controversial investment/business trends in recent memory.
The talk which aimed to shed light on cryptocurrency was presented in the form of a forum that involved questions and answers between the host and the two invited speakers (Stephen Chia of NEM Malaysia and Affendi Ariffin of Access Blockchain Malaysia). Following a brief introduction, the discussion quickly fell into a rhythm of the host asking a predetermined question and the two speakers answering in turns. Mr Chia’s responses often relied on real life analogies, which was probably useful for those in attendance who weren’t fluent in cryptocurrency lingo (aka me); whereas Mr Affendi’s answers came off as more technical, relying very much on factual knowledge and hence appealing to the more well-versed ‘veterans’ of cryptocurrency in the crowd.
As the evening wore on, the not uncommon phenomenon of students consciously (or subconsciously) pulling out their phones and checking their social media feeds (I need to see if my post reached 100 likes yet!!) begun to rear its unsightly head; and it was a heaven-send that the floor then opened up to a Question & Answer session. In spite of the questions being predetermined (collected in the google docs registration for the event), this served as a nudge back on to track for the students whose attention spans had begun to waver.
Ultimately, both Misters Chia and Affendi agreed that it would be difficult to predict the future of cryptocurrency; as this owed a lot to multiple factors beyond the reasonable foresight and control of any of us, and therefore we would just have to wait and see where it goes from here. Rest assured that having said that, it was still a most informational talk for the attending students, (or at least those who managed to maintain their attention span for the duration of the event).
All in all, MUIG made the seemingly impossible look easy; and concluded the week on a high, having successfully equipped our student body with a newfound understanding and appreciation of investment in the real world.
Article by LingJie Tuang and Saik Ming
Photos by Fatyn Afiqah and Daniel Sim