Pitch perfect - fourth annual Stock Pitch Challenge draws students, business professionals
By Andrea Ortega ’13
For the fourth consecutive year, the Global Markets Investment Club (GMIC) at Brandeis International Business School (IBS) held its annual Stock Pitch Challenge, in which student teams rose to the occasion, presenting before an esteemed panel of financial executives who collectively managed assets valued at $10 billion.
Narrowed down from a total of 13 teams, the five finalists were tasked with performing extensive equity analysis on companies of their choosing and developing stock pitches based on their projected investment value. This year’s featured companies were Estee Lauder, Golden Agri Resources, Macy’s, Seagate, and Unilever. The teams were judged on several factors, including the quality of their argument, their poise and inclusiveness, and their ability to defend their research.
Club president Kimberly Myers MA ’13 discussed how the high-pressure event provides students with the opportunity to develop valuable analytic and team-building skills.
“[The Stock Pitch Challenge] is a lot of people’s first exposure to equity analysis and they get to really think in-depth about a company, how it runs, and its position in the industry that it’s in. It’s also good in terms of team-building: you have late nights with your teammates, and you learn to work with people from different countries in intense, stressful situations.”
Each team had 10 minutes to present their companies, followed by a Q&A session with the expert panel of judges which included high-ranking business executives from top management firms such as Highfields Capital and Bain and Company. Brandeis was represented on the panel by returning judge, Deborah Shufrin ’93, who serves as the Director of Investments for the university’s endowment, and Michael McKay, who is a professor of private equity and investment at Brandeis IBS. The judges carefully cross-examined the students’ evaluations by raising questions about their company’s competitive advantages, market share, and profit margin growth.
Jorge Arce MBA ’14, whose two-man team won the challenge with its Macy’s pitch, credited the preparedness and compatibility between him and his partner for their ability to sell and defend the stock to the panel.
“It was obvious that we were nervous,” he said. “[The judges] are amazing and they handle a lot of money, but in the end, you need to go out and try to have fun. That’s the idea.”
Cholpon Begalieva MA ’13 also reflected on the intensive preparation process, emphasizing the endurance and collaboration that her team’s Unilever pitch required.
“Basically it was days and nights living in the Bloomberg lab doing research, starting with picking the company to pitch and why. It was a lot of communication, group work, and it required a lot of back and forth within the team.”
In his opening remarks on Friday, Brandeis IBS Dean Bruce Magid praised GMIC and the Stock Pitch Challenge for being a signature student-led initiative at the school. Driven by their mission to “develop investment knowledge and skill,” the club now boasts nearly 70 members who manage over $75,000 worth of assets under the GMIC portfolio, which has been recognized nationally for its growth and outperformance. The group meets weekly to discuss market developments, investment practices, and asset allocation, and also organizes networking events, trips to prominent firms, and other campus-wide engagements, such as last year’s inaugural Bunson Impact Investing Challenge.