Making Your Pitch to Investment Professionals: Johnson’s MBA Stock Pitch Competition

by John Costello and Demetri Typadis, co-presidents of Investment Management Club, both MBA ’13

John Costello, MBA '13

Every fall, Johnson hosts its annual MBA Stock Pitch Competition (SPC), which attracts the most talented finance students from the world’s most prestigious business schools. The SPC also attracts some of the most well-recognized asset management firms from around the country so their investment professionals can serve as judges and meet top investing talent. It is a very exciting event to which Johnson faculty, staff, and students look forward every year.

This year, the SPC kicks off today, November 1. On the first day of the competition each school’s team receives a list of three stocks. Johnson’s team is comprised of students, selected via our own internal stock pitch competition, from the Capital Markets and Asset Management Immersion. They have thirteen hours to analyze each company, formulate an investment thesis, and prepare a presentation to illustrate their buy or sell recommendation. Under such tight time constraints, this is a formidable task, and it requires a great deal of skill and grace under pressure.

Tomorrow, with little sleep, representatives from each team will present an investment recommendation for one stock in the first round and another investment recommendation for a second stock in the second round. Each presenter will be given fifteen minutes to make his or her pitch to a panel of esteemed investment professionals serving as judges. After each pitch the judges will have the opportunity to ask the contestants questions about their investment thesis. This is where contestants can really shine, as they demonstrate how deeply they understand the company and its industry dynamics.

After a networking lunch, the three finalists are announced, and the pressure mounts. The three remaining teams each have their final representative present the third stock recommendation to a room filled with business school students, company recruiters, and a large panel of judges. The competition is always very close. Following the final presentations, there is a cocktail reception where all contestants get the opportunity to network with the visiting companies. After a bit of mingling, the winner of the competition is announced during a trophy presentation.

The annual SPC is truly one of the most exciting times of the year at Johnson, especially for students focusing on asset management. It is a fantastic performance-learning experience for the participants and an unparalleled opportunity for the students to meet their peers from other business schools, and investment professionals from firms around the country. On behalf of the Investment Management Club, the Parker Center for Investment Research, and Johnson’s faculty and administration, I would like to wish this year’s contestants good luck and thank them for making this experience so valuable.