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Stock picking challenge helps students understand value investing

  • Communications
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  • Apr 27, 2015
Stock picking challenge helps students understand value investing

Ken Broekaert of Burgundy Asset Management (far left) and Ivey Professor George Athanassakos (far right) with two members of the winning team: Will Manderscheid and Alex Acosta of the Kellogg School of Management.

It is often said that value investing and the art of stock picking are largely misunderstood at business schools and in the world of academia. Ivey Finance Professor George Athanassakos is on a mission to change those misconceptions by helping students and practitioners understand value investing through a unique stock-picking forum.

Enter the Ivey Business School’s Ben Graham Centre International Stock Picking Competition. Now in its second year, the competition attracted 25 teams of MBA students from top business schools from North America, Europe, and Asia who vie for $17,500 in cash prizes.   

“Value investing is not taught at the other schools and most students don’t know much about value investing,” said Athanassakos. “So I like to use the competition to make them understand what we do at Ivey.”

In the first stage of the competition, each team prepared a report on a company which was judged by a panel of industry practitioners and experts. The top three teams were chosen to compete in-person at Ivey’s Tangerine Leadership Centre in Toronto on April 14.

This year teams from the Haas Business School, Ivey Business School, and Kellogg School of Management made it to the final round. Each team’s financial analysis skills were put to the test during a 30-minute presentation on whether or not to invest in a particular company. Judging the competition were some of the most respected value investing experts in the industry. Each judge didn’t hold back when grilling and critiquing each team’s methods.

While the competition was close, the team of Alex Acosta, Will Manderscheid, and Anish Pasari from the Kellogg School of Management took the top prize of $10,000, with Haas Business School finishing second and Ivey rounding out the top three.

“I think it was a phenomenal experience,” said Acosta. “As students, we obviously have an interest in value investing so the final round really was a great way to apply the value investing skills and get in front of a group of practitioners.”

While the cash prize was nice, having an opportunity to interact with the judging panel during the competition was an unforgettable experience.

“It’s always a learning process,” said Manderscheid. “Learning from such smart people and such successful people and getting feedback on how we look at a business and how we look at a stock is just invaluable.”

Judges for this year’s competition included Ken Broekaert (Burgundy Asset Management), Wayne Peters (Peters MacGregor Capital Management), Robert Robotti (Robotti & Company Advisors), and Kim Shannon (Sionna Investment Managers) and the prize money was provided by Burgundy Asset Management and Empire Life Investments.