The Ben Graham Centre for Value Investing at the Ivey Business School holds an annual value stock picking competition for teams from MBA schools around the world. Participating teams compete for $14,000 in cash prizes, as well as complimentary attendance to the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference and to the Annual General Meeting of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. in Toronto, Canada. These events provide a forum for participants to hear from distinguished keynote speakers in investment management along with an opportunity to network with prominent value investors. The key objective of the competition is to expose the participating students to the value investing approach of stock analysis and to spread the word of value investing with MBA programs around the world.

This stock picking competition is different from others in that,

  1. It focuses on the value investing approach to stock analysis and follows the principles of value investing as taught by Benjamin Graham and practiced by some of the most successful investors of our time.
  2. It is geared towards a maximum of 30 MBA programs from around the globe by including schools from Asia, Australia, Europe as well as North and South America.
  3. Valuation reports are judged for the quality of their analysis ahead of time and the teams who write the top three reports are invited to Toronto, Canada to present another stock valuation to a panel of top global value investors, who determine the winning group.
  4. Significant awards are given to the top three groups.

2018 Competition

Process & Judges

The competition consists of two rounds (for specific dates, see the current year's competition timetable in the link above).  

In the 1st round of the competition, one team from each school consisting of two to three students submits a maximum ten page (plus necessary exhibits) research report to the competition managers (see contact details below) in late January of the year of the competition. The research report is of a single stock from a pre-determined list of value stocks that is shared with participating schools ten days prior to the submission deadline. 1st round judges include the following industry professionals:

Ajay Gopal, BDC IT Venture Fund
Scott Gryba,
British Columbia Investment Management Corporation

Eeshan Paranjape, CIBC
Achilleas Taxildaris,  Bristol Gate Capital Partners Inc.
Marlena Zabielska, Sionna Investment Managers

The submitted reports are divided equally among each of these judges who assess the quality of the research analysis, valuation and strength of the resulting investment thesis of each report and choose one from their respective subset. Dr. George Athanassakos, Rahim Murji and Edgar Vergara then choose three finalists from this group of five who are invited to participate in the 2nd round of the competition. The three teams chosen as finalists are notified in early February.

In the 2nd round of the competition, a new company to analyze and value is given to each finalist team in early April. This company will be the same for all finalists. Each finalist team is required to submit a PowerPoint presentation of no more than 20 slides (plus necessary appendices) to the competition managers a week later. Each finalist team is invited to Toronto, Canada to deliver a 20 minute presentation (plus 20 minutes for Q&A) of their respective analyses to the following 2nd round judges who are all distinguished global value investors:

Wayne Peters, Peters MacGregor Capital Management (Australia)
Robert Robotti, Robotti & Company Advisors LLC. (United States)
Kim Shannon, Sionna Investment Managers (Canada)
Jeff Stacey, Stacey Muirhead Capital Management (Canada)
Evan Vanderveer, Vanshap Capital (United States)

Presentations will take place a day before the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference.

Benefits & Costs

Each of the top three final teams is guaranteed a cash prize, with first place awarded $8,000, second place $4,000 and third place $2,000. Each team is invited to attend the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference in Toronto, with all conference fees waived. Finalist awards are presented during the luncheon at the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference. Each finalist team is also invited to attend the Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. Annual General Meeting to be held a day after the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference in Toronto. Finalist teams are required to pay their own airfare to Toronto, but all hotel accommodations and most meals in Toronto are covered.

Participating Schools

While select schools from Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America are invited to participate in order to reflect the global nature of the competition, any graduate program that is interested in participating can email the competition managers for further information with regards to the application process. The number of schools participating is limited to 30.

Schools are required to submit their team member information in early December of the year prior to the year of the competition. A firm commitment from each team is required through a non-refundable fee of $100. Schools that have interest from multiple teams are encouraged to hold an internal competition prior to the second week of December to determine the one team that will represent their school.

The Value Investing Process

Students unfamiliar with the value investing process and valuation may wish to read the book by Greenwald, Bruce C.N., et al. “Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond” or attend Dr. Athanassakos' Value Investing Seminar.

Our Team

Competition Organizer & Chair

Dr. George Athanassakos

GeorgeDr. George Athanassakos is a Professor of Finance and the Ben Graham Chair in Value Investing at the Ivey Business School, which he joined in July 2004. He is also the Founder and Managing Director of The Ben Graham Centre for Value Investing. Prior to joining Ivey, Dr. Athanassakos spent a number of years at various research-related positions with banking and trust companies in Canada and Greece, and taught at York University and Wilfrid Laurier University, where he was professor of Finance and Founder & Director of Laurier’s Financial Planning Program. He has a BA in Economics and Business Administration from The School of Industrial Studies of Thessalonica, Greece, and an MA in Economics, an MBA and a PhD in Finance from York University. The Financial Planning Standards Council has bestowed Dr. Athanassakos with the Fellow of FPSCTM distinction for his outstanding contribution to furthering FPSC's mission and for advancing the financial planning profession. See more on Dr. Athanassakos’ bio.

Competition Co-Managers

Edgar Vergara
VergaraEdgar Vergara is a 2013 graduate, with distinction, of the MBA program at the Ivey Business School at Western University located in London, Ontario, Canada. Edgar is currently working in the High Yield Capital Markets group at RBC Capital Markets, focused on structuring and originating Canadian dollar high yield credit. Prior to attending Ivey, Edgar was a Portfolio Manager at Stanton Asset Management, responsible for North American high yield and Canadian convertible debt. Edgar also holds a Bachelor of Commerce (with distinction) from Concordia University and is a Level III CFA Candidate. 

Rahim Murji
Rahim Murji is a 2016 graduate of the MBA program. He became interested in the stock market at the bottom of the Dotcom Crash. He found it interesting to see companies that were once valued at hundreds of dollars a share eventually priced at only a fraction of that amount. As Rahim learned more about investing, he came across the teachings of Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett and he became enthralled with the value approach to investing. Rahim has a wide range of work experience, including Operational Risk Manager at one of Canada's largest investment fund managers and Team Lead of Investment Operations at an insurance organization. Rahim holds a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction from the University of Alberta and is a CA and CFA charterholder. Click here for contact information. 

Past Stock Picking Competitions