Noted value investing professionals firmly believe bottom-up stock research is essential for money managers and personal investors alike. Students from business schools from all around the globe put these skills on display at the Ivey Business School’s Ben Graham Centre's International MBA Stock Picking Competition.
In the first stage of the competition, 14 teams made up of MBA students prepared a valuation report on a company judged by a panel of industry practitioners. Teams from the Ivey Business School, Barna Management School (Dominican Republic) and Fordham University (United States) reached the final round, set to compete against each other for $14,000 in prize money.
The student teams had a limited amount of time to prepare a thorough analysis of Westlake Corporation, a diversified chemical company, whose materials are found in a wide array of industries such as infrastructure, medical supplies and automotive, to name a few. Their reports must include a buy, or don’t buy recommendation, and the teams are critiqued by a distinguished panel of value investor professionals on their analytical rigour, understanding of the industry, and their ability to defend their position.
After the three detailed, blinded presentations, the competition judges concluded the team from Ivey Business School provided the most thorough and comprehensive evaluation, coming away with the top prize. The teams from Barna and Fordham finished second and third, respectively.
Judge Robert Robotti, who believes stock picking is going through a renaissance of late, was particularly impressed with the Ivey team, who demonstrated a keen understanding of Westlake and their overall industry.
“They did a phenomenal job,” said Robotti on Ivey’s assessment of Westlake. “It’s the process of looking at a company, understanding the business and making those judgements about all the critical elements and where it fits and whether it makes sense to buy the stock or not.”
Taking home the winners purse of $8,000, Ivey’s team made up Ali Gill, Nitish Mehta, and Tyler Clemens, all MBA ‘23s, were ecstatic with how their team came together.
“Teamwork is really important, especially in this competition,” said Gill. “With value investing you have to cover so many facets that just one person cannot do it all. So, having a team that’s in-sync really helped us in this competition.”
“I wanted more exposure into different sectors and this competition was one way of doing that,” exclaimed Mehta. “As an investor I thought value investing principles might be a way to apply to my own portfolio.”
For Clemens, the competition opened his mind to think beyond traditional means of valuation.
“This competition gave us a lot of great opportunities to think of companies differently and to come up with our own ideas, some of which may go against what professional analysts are saying. It gave us a new way to analyze things, and to think of things a bit differently.”
Judges for the final round of the competition included Wayne Peters (Peters MacGregor Capital Management), Robert Robotti (Robotti & Company Advisors LLC), Kim Shannon (Sionna Investment Managers), Achilleas Taxildaris (Bristol Gate Capital Partners), and Evan Vanderveer (Vanshap Capital).