“It was through hard work and team spirit that we won,” says Cole van Jaarsveldt, one of the UCT students in the winning team of this year’s African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management (AIFMRM) Financial Mathematics Team Challenge (FMTC) from Friday 29 June to Saturday 7 July.Van Jaarsveldt and Bandile Mbele were among seven UCT students selected to represent the institution in the FMTC.The competition was in partnership between Master’s and PhD students from UCT, University College London (UCL), Oxford University in England and ETH Zurich in Switzerland.Students were grouped into mixed teams of four. Each was given a topic and had a lecturer to oversee their progress. They had seven days to prepare and two days of presentation.Van Jaarsveldt says his team had the most reserved individuals who locked themselves in a room for hours getting ready. “I really did not expect to win. Our team was the most quiet and I was intimidated by our competitors’ confidence in themselves. You could see the determination when they bragged about how they would win. I think it was because of this that we gave it our all and worked very hard to achieve good scores. It was an amazing feeling to learn that we had actually won.”Van Jaarsveldt’s team’s topic was private equity. They had to do research, compile a report and demonstrate their understanding of the work environment represented by their topic.Mbele says the win was a bonus considering the topic was tough. He says it took a lot of effort and dedication but was worth it. They left with valuable experience. Mbele says they can now compare the quality of their education to that of overseas students.Professor David Taylor, director of AIFMRM in the Faculty of Commerce at UCT, says the competition brings international researchers to Cape Town to give them a glimpse into the dynamic environment that is developing at UCT in the AIFMRM.Dr Lisa Powers, co-mentor for the challenge, says the winning team produced incredibly consistent work in a short time.