May 5, 2004

JGSM Team Wins Second At MBA Stock Challenge

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A team from the Johnson Graduate School of Management won second place in the second annual MBA Stockpitch Challenge, held at Sage Hall from April 1 to April 2. In the contest, 11 of the nation’s top business schools each sent three MBA students to compete for a first-place prize of $3,000 and a second-place prize of $1,500. The first-place winners were from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

“The MBA Stockpitch Challenge … allows teams from different schools to come and pitch in front of experts from the industry and to get feedback and have that interaction and experience while still in business school,” said Alison Reichert JGSM ’04, an organizer of the Stockpitch Challenge.

The event was hosted in the Parker Center for Investment Research, an innovative financial analysis teaching center at the Johnson school.

In the challenge, which was co-sponsored by StockVal, FactSet, the New York Stock Exchange and Jack Ferraro MBA ’70, competitors were given the opportunity to decide whether to buy, sell, or hold certain stocks. In order to make their decisions, they had to thoroughly research the stocks and industries they were assigned, within a period of just a few hours. Then the competitors gave presentations arguing their case to the panel of judges. Reichert said that the event was “unlike anything offered at any other business school in the country.”

The Johnson School’s competitors were selected from among the student portfolio managers for the Cayuga Fund, an investment fund that gives MBA students at Cornell the opportunity to gain real-world experience in capital appreciation investments.

“I have always been fascinated by equity research, so the Cayuga Fund is one of the reasons I came to Cornell in the first place,” said Joe Stein JGSM ’04, who was part of the team that achieved second place in the MBA Stockpitch Challenge.

Jason Tauber JGSM ’04, who was also on the Johnson school team, said that the Cayuga Fund gave him “a lot of experience pitching stocks to a discriminating audience.”

In the final round, the Johnson school students pitched a stock called Lafarge North America, a building materials corporation — they recommended buying it.

The panel of eight judges represented a wide range of leaders from various industries. The contest was designed so that judges were unaware of the school affiliations of the competitors, so they were not biased to one school or another. The criteria that were used to decide the winners included accuracy, reliability and depth of financial analysis.

The first-place team from the Kellogg School of Management pitched U.S. Steel, and advised to buy it. Since the competition, US Steel’s stock has plummeted 21.28 percent, while Lafarge’s has gained 2.68 percent.

Other participants, who ranked below second place in the Stockpitch Challenge, included the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, NYU’s Stern School, MIT’s Sloan School, and Duke University’s Fuqua School.

Archived article by Andrew Beckwith
Sun Staff Writer