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Teamwork key to victory in stock picking competition

Apr 11, 2024

Stock Picking 1548

Competition winners from the Barna Management School (L-R): Jacek Swiatkowski, Fernando Germes and Gustavo Tavares

As the old saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. This adage proved true once again at this year’s International MBA Stock Picking Competition hosted by Ivey’s Ben Graham Centre for Value Investing .

The competition pits student teams from prestigious MBA programs from around the world against each other, vying for $14,000 in total prize money. In the first stage, teams prepare a valuation report on a firm that is judged by a panel of industry practitioners and experts for the quality of their analysis. The top three teams from this stage go on to compete and present in person in Toronto.

With only a few days to prepare a comprehensive report on a well-known Canadian furniture company, teams from the Yale School of Management, Barna Management School, and Ivey Business School faced-off, each presenting to a distinguished panel of value investors.

Each team must include a buy, or don’t buy recommendation, and are judged on their analytical rigour, understanding of the industry, and ability to defend their position. 

Once presentations were complete, and after thoughtful deliberation, judges named the Barna Management School from the Dominican Republic the overall winner, with Yale and Ivey finishing second and third respectively. 

The Barna team was thrilled to earn the victory. MBAs students Fernando Germes, Jacek Swiatkowski, and Gustavo Tavares will split the $8,000-first-place prize, but, most importantly, relished the experience.

“The spirit was simply amazing,” said Germes. “We used a new framework for doing valuation, and a new mindset, and a new paradigm to challenge those beliefs. Learning to value from a different perspective was simply awesome.”

Tavares reflected on the value and importance of teamwork in driving their success.

“The teamwork was phenomenal,” he said. “The easiest person to fool is yourself. So, it’s nice to have teammates who are not afraid to tell you, ‘Hey, you’re being an idiot.’ And that humility every once in a while, and accepting that argument after a few hours of healthy discussion. It’s fun to do that in a respectful way. I think that’s the kindest thing anyone can do for you.”

Judges for the competition’s final round included distinguished value investors Scott Barbee, Aegis Financial Corporation; Thomas Konstantinidis, Allianz European Reliance; Robert Robotti, Robotti & Company Advisors LLC; Kim Shannon, Sionna Investment Managers; and Achilleas Taxildaris, Bristol Gate Capital Partners Inc.