Finance students from as far away as the University of Massachusetts, Princeton University and the University of Texas-Austin converged at the Terry College of Business for the ninth annual Stock Pitch Competition on Feb. 17.
Organized by Terry’s Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF), the competition is one of the few events where finance students from different parts of the country gather to network and learn from each other, said Catherine Kight, SMIF president and a graduating senior studying finance.
“Seeing people come to Athens from across the country means a lot to me and says something about how the university has grown into a world-class university with a great finance program,” said Kight, who managed this year’s competition hosting responsibilities. “Having a contest that attracts such high-quality judges, panelists and teams is a great resource for students here and for finance students everywhere who want to get involved.”
The contest brings together investment professionals to judge student teams who make researched pitches for stocks they believe will be future good buys. Most team members are finance majors or students involved with their business school’s investment funds.
The Terry Stock Pitch Contest is unique, said Allison Yang, a senior from Princeton University, who was the lone representative from her team. When her teammates from the Bendheim Center for Finance were unable to attend, she came to Athens by herself.
“I’ve never actually seen teams pitch their stocks in person; I wanted to experience pitching to judges who were in the same room,” said Yang, who competed in many online pitch competitions while at Princeton.
For finance students from nearby schools, such as the University of Florida or Auburn University, the UGA SMIF competition is a rite of passage.
“It’s a great chance to use your actual valuation skills and put your communication skills into practice,” said John Boles, Auburn University Investment Fund member who traveled to Athens to compete.
“We pitch stocks to each other all the time for the fund,” chimed in Ashley Sienicki, another Auburn Investment Fund team member. “But in that format, it’s only other students asking questions, and it’s people who know you and the work you've done on your stock.
“Here, you’re talking to professionals in the field, and you have to be able to explain and defend your ideas.”
This year the contest ended in a tie, with teams from Washington and Lee University and Florida State University taking home $2,500.
The volunteer team of portfolio managers and analysts judging the competition believed the Washington and Lee team’s pitch for Texas-based oil firm Diamondback Energy and the Florida State team’s pitch for DIY-moving giant U-Haul were well-researched and convincing.
This year’s contest was sponsored by BlackRock, LCG Associates, PIMCO, Capital Investment Advisors, CFA Society Atlanta, and Balentine.