Online Trading Academy (OTA) recently won a Bronze Stevie Award for its innovative approach to educating students how to engage online in the financial markets, largely due to the staff’s commitment to helping people make sense of a complex industry. But just how did the company end up where it is today? We’ll take a look at the founder’s journey and how OTA’s past is influencing its present and future.
The Beginnings of Online Trading Academy
Eyal Shahar is the founder of Online Trading Company, but his first business was in the jewelry industry. As a diamond importer, he wanted to see where his money was going. After selling the company in the 1990s, he knew that he wanted to play the trading game too. By starting his own trading floor, his goal was to develop his investment skills and evolve solid strategies for investment opportunities.
Shahar had several traders working with him as he tackled his new endeavor, but there was something special about the people with whom he worked. Openness and honesty is not something that you can mandate in a company, but it seemed to come naturally to his employees. As they shared their insights and failures, the rapport continued to grow. It was clear that the connections were playing an instrumental role in the company’s progress, helping everyone understand the market on a deeper level and grow in confidence as new opportunities arose.
This was one concept that Shahar understood from early on: there’s always a bright side to even the most dismal financial market. There’s a way to arrange and structure a portfolio so that it has opportunities to thrive under the toughest conditions. He realized that he might do better by bringing together the best and brightest to teach traders and investors how to navigate the financial markets.
The Heart of Education
What started off as informal discussions quickly led Shahar to rethink the model of his company. By rethinking his original objectives, he could empower countless students to potentially take more control of their financial futures. This was how OTA got its start, eventually transitioning entirely to purely an educational model in the early 2000s.
From there, Shahar gathered instructors to teach both free and paid courses. With classes that covered everything from basic financial wellness to the intricacies of the stocks, futures, foreign exchange and options markets.
Shahar’s instructors and the individual lessons they’ve learned have proven invaluable to the tens of thousands of students who have signed up for the programs at OTA. Students also have opportunities to connect with instructors in online live trading sessions to look over their shoulder.
Online Trading Academy’s Values
Education is clearly the number one priority of OTA, but education has to start with engagement. If a student isn’t paying attention, how can they be expected to learn anything? Shahar and his staff understand that it’s not always easy to connect with people online, which is why the company has focused on how to help students engage on location with the material and the person behind the class.
To that end, OTA has opened more than 40 education centers around the world for anyone who wants to get an in-person education. From India to Phoenix, students can physically meet with instructors for classes and form relationships with other students and center staff as a local community.
However, for those who want or need to take classes online, OTA has also placed a strong focus on finding and utilizing educational tools that will transform the virtual learning space. By investing in new technology, the company intends to not only help students further their understanding of the market but also help the entire industry become more effective at engaging with learners.
What’s Happening Now
In the recent past, Online Trading Academy has been recognized for its technical innovations, taking home several Stevie Awards in some very competitive markets. Part of the reason that Shahar has been so successful is that he prioritizes his students, their learning journey and their risk management above all else.
Democratizing financial education means opening up access to more people. The more choices people have, the more opportunities there are to help get ahead.
This initial motivation is what gives students the strength to keep going despite adversity and take the next financial education step that’s right for them. Some people come to OTA to grasp the basics of trading, while others come to advance their skills. OTA meets students where they are, and its instructors work to help learners grow however they can.
It’s no wonder that, in 2020, the EdTech Awards named OTA a finalist for the Innovation in Student Engagement in the EdTech trendsetter category. This was not only because OTA’s platform was easy to use and brimming with support but also because it progressively embeds OTA’s education and step by step methodology allowing students to gain confidence more quickly.
OTA has achieved the number three position in education, according to the Franchise Business Review, and it just opened a new location in the Phoenix area. This expansion will bring further awareness to hopeful traders around the world. The company is also offering on-demand classes during the pandemic in an effort to help give everyone the opportunity to cope with whatever the economy happens to bring.
Online Trading Academy is also participating in a variety of endeavors, including an upcoming Virtual Thrive Student Conference, as a means of learning more about and contributing to the online education environment. Eyal Shahar continues to be identified by the business community as a top innovator, making his next steps that much more important to the future of online education.