AGSM Runner Up In Stock Competition For Asia-Pacific MBAs

National University of Singapore’s competition is designed to simulate the pressures of real life trading floors

This year’s Asian MBA Stock Pitch Competition saw teams from across the region battling for first place in front of a panel of leading investment experts.

The National University Singapore Business School hosted a total of 12 b-school teams, who competed for the top spot by making stock recommendations for an imaginary market and justifying them before the judges.

This week BusinessBecause caught up with Anthony Yarrow of the AGSM team to find out how they got involved and what it was like taking part.

Did your team prepare like mad before going to the competition?
"We certainly prepared but we were mindful of our existing uni commitments. We saw it as a great opportunity to meet fellow students from top MBA schools in Asia. Having said that, we are very competitive and challenged ourselves to come away with a good result for both AGSM and ourselves.

"We knew there would be three main components to the competition: detailed analysis of the company and industry, development of an investment thesis and a presentation to an expert judging panel.

"We aimed to produce a compelling investment thesis based on two or three major insights from our analysis and to avoid regurgitating complex valuation and financial data but rather use the data to support the thesis in a simple and meaningful way.

"In hindsight, we could have practiced the pitch more as it was evident from conversations with fellow competitors at the reception dinner that we were slightly under-prepared in comparison."

How did presenting your views to the judges go? Could you describe the panel?
"It was very challenging. The panel was comprised of industry experts from both the buy side and sell side representing prestigious names such as Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, DBS Asset Management and Novatera Capital.

"We were presented with one stock and were required to select two additional stocks; one each from two assigned industry groups. All stocks were small cap Asian companies with limited analyst coverage.

"The competition was comprised of three rounds with preliminary judging after the second round and four finalists advancing to the final round. Each presentation had a lead presenter followed by Q&A with the whole team and it was a requirement that each team member must take a turn as lead presenter.

"It was obvious that the panel had done their homework on the stocks, as the Q&A left many teams bruised and battered. Given we only had eight hours to conduct our analysis and draw up a presentation, we were surprised at the detail and depth of understanding that the judges questions required.

"In all, it was an excellent simulation of an analyst call, and gave me a great insight into the experience of a CEO or equity analyst when defending a recommendation."

What do you plan to do with the prize money?
"Considering the income sacrifices for full time MBA students, there's no shortage of ideas on how to spend the prize money. Personally, I've been very lucky to have a supportive wife throughout my MBA studies so I took advantage of the good shopping in Singapore to buy her a few presents. Of course the team celebrated over a few drinks and chilli crab in Singapore."

Do you have trading experience already, and do you plan to go on to trade after your MBA finishes?
"I have experience on an equity trading desk for an investment bank as a trade assistant conducting analysis, execution, risk management and operations. However, this competition was aimed squarely at equity analyst skills rather than trading skills, although the two are interconnected if your trading strategy is based on fundamentals.

"In this respect, our team has a solid background in finance and investment, with Garrett's hedge fund experience and Jay's investment consulting experience, and I was confident we would give the competition a good shake.

"The competition gave me an opportunity to showcase many of the skills and frameworks I have learned during my MBA at AGSM by blending corporate valuation with strategic analysis and communicating this in a clear and meaningful way. A career path that uses these skills is one that I'm actively pursuing post MBA."

 

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