By Isha Patel
On Friday, February 10, MBA students from 12 invited institutions gathered at the UCLA Anderson School of Management to compete in the seventh annual Fink Center Stock Pitch Competition. The event, hosted by the Laurence and Lori Fink Center for Finance & Investments, included teams from business schools across the nation:
- Columbia Business School
- Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management
- Ivey Business School, Western University
- NYU Stern School of Business
- Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
- Stanford Graduate School of Business
- Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University
- Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth
- UCLA Anderson School of Management
- University of Chicago Booth School of Business
- USC Marshall School of Business
- UVA Darden School of Business
All teams participated in the first round, when they pitched real stocks to a panel of experienced judges. After the first round, the judges deliberated and chose the top three finalists to move onto the final round of pitches. Throughout the entire competition, judges were unaware of the teams’ school affiliations.
Highlighting the day-long event was a keynote address and question and answer session with Ray Kennedy, portfolio manager at Hotchkins and Wiley Capital Management. Kennedy spoke about his experience in the finance industry, his current work with the company and lessons he has learned through his years many in investing. She shared his knowledge of the high-yield bond market and predictions for the future of the economy. Kennedy advised the stock pitch participants on working with different management teams and how to handle situations in volatile markets.
After the keynote, the top three finalists were announced: UCLA Anderson School of Management, UVA Darden School of Business and Stanford Graduate School of Business. During the final round, all teams focused on the United States Steel Corporation stock, which was pre-selected by the stock pitch directors.
During their pitches, participants gave their recommendations for a one-year investment horizon. They included the recent past activity of the stock and predicted how the stock would fare within the next few years. Each team included a component that analyzed how the new presidential administration’s policies would influence the future of the company and its stocks. Judges questioned each team on their business model and asked how changes in different policies could alter their projections.
The winners of the 2017 Stock Pitch Competition, UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Justin Phillips (’18) and Jarrid Johnston (FEMBA ’19) of team J^2 Capital, gave a recommendation to sell. Their reasoning for the decision focused on how steel prices are expected to peak in 2017, how continued imports of steel would affect U.S. Steel and how risk factors would negatively impact stock.
A dinner and reception followed the competition, and students had the chance to socialize with one another before winners were announced. The first-place team from UCLA Anderson received a $6,000 prize, UVA Darden received $4,000 and Stanford received $2,500.
Read Justin Phillips' first-hand account of competing and prevailing in the 2017 Fink Stock Pitch