- Apr 15, 2021
Stock picking done well takes into account vast amounts of corporate information, coupled with thorough due diligence and analysis. Twenty teams of MBA students hailing from business schools from all around the globe put their skills to the test in this year’s Ben Graham Centre's International MBA Stock Picking Competition.
In the first stage of the competition, each of the 20 teams prepared a valuation report on a company, which was judged by a panel of industry practitioners for the quality of the analysis. Teams finishing in the top three made it to the final round to face off against each other, vying for $14,000 in prize money.
With only two weeks to prepare a detailed presentation on Canadian-headquartered internet service provider and domain registrar Tucows, the three finalists made their presentations virtually in front of a prestigious panel of value investors.
The teams from the Ivey Business School, London Business School, and Barna Management School from the Dominican Republic faced tough questions from the judges, forcing them to defend their analysis and recommendations.
Competition host Ivey’s George Athanassakos was struck by the level of detail presented by all of the teams.
“What impressed me was that the teams managed to collect so much information and prepare such thorough presentations in a very short time on a difficult stock that could be mistaken as not being a value stock,” said Athanassakos.
In the end, and after much deliberation, the judges chose the London Business School as the ultimate winner, with Barna School of Management placing second, and Ivey third.
In spite of the fact the company the teams were analyzing had little broker research, competition judge Kim Shannon of Sionna Investment Managers said she was impressed with the teams’ analysis.
“The winning team understood the key drivers of the business, handled questions well, and the team members were able to defend their views,” she said.
Taking home a prize of $8,000, the London Business School team made up of Vaibhav Kumar and Abhinav Kumar, both MBA ’22; and Marco Danieli, MBA ’21; were thrilled with the outcome and the process.
“This was a great learning experience because we had to get to the nuts and bolts of the different business segments, and understand them in significant detail to build our perspective and consequently the investment thesis,” said Vaibhav Kumar. “It was an absolutely great experience to interact with and get feedback from such a renowned set of value investing professionals. Their insightful questions helped us to get a better picture of what aspects the different investors look at while evaluating a company or industry.”
“There was not enough time to ‘boil the ocean’ and read or analyze all we ideally wanted to, so we had to proceed by hypothesis, prioritizing key areas,” said Danieli. “Moreover, while it was a team effort, having a member of the team who could coordinate and direct the workflow was also very important. It allowed us to stay on track and work efficiently and effectively.”
Abhinav Kumar said teamwork drove their success in the lead-up to the competition.
“The most important aspect was having the right team members with complementary skillsets, leveraging those skills to extract synergy, along with keeping the team motivated to not leave any stone unturned,” he said.
Judges for the competition included Wayne Peters, Peters MacGregor Capital Management; Robert Robotti, Robotti & Company Advisors LLC; Kim Shannon, Sionna Investment Managers; Jeff Stacey, Stacey Muirhead Capital Management; and Evan Vanderveer, Vanshap Capital.