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How A Business School Competition Set Me Up For A Career In Investment Banking

Guo Xiangyu won first prize in a global investment competition at business school. Now, he says investment banks want to hire him


Tue Aug 6 2019

Guo Xiangyu knows investing.

He knows investing so well that he received an early promotion while working as a financial analyst for a securities company in Beijing, China. 

He spent just over three years researching listed companies for Guoyuan Securities and recommending them to fund managers, perfecting his skill for spotting well-performing stocks.

One year later, that knowledge is what helped him and his team, the Big Six, win the annual Global Network Investment Competition as International MBA (IMBA) students at the Business School of Renmin University of China.

The six-month competition held by the Global Network for Advanced Management—a collaboration of business schools where Renmin is one of the only two member business schools from Chinese mainland universities—pits teams of students against one another. The aim of the game is to achieve the best return on a selected portfolio of stocks. 

Guo says the competition has not only enhanced his confidence in his abilities, it’s also helping to boost his career in investment banking and bringing him closer to his long-term goal of launching his own private equity business.

How does a global investment competition work?

To be a successful investor, Guo says you need to be able to identify high-potential companies and ascertain their future performance. For Guo, holding a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in economics, gave his team an advantage in the investment competition.

When it came to building a portfolio to run against the country’s capital-weighted stock market index and analyzing these stocks, the Big Six’s plan proved foolproof.

With the help of Renmin’s professors, the team built a model to filter out underperforming companies out of the 1000 listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index. They then whittled the 99 stocks that remained down to the top five. Investment management firm, M&G, was chosen as their main stock.

Competing against 24 teams from business schools from 15 countries, the Big Six come out on top with a return on its portfolio that was 28.67% better than the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

They analyzed the financial statements of M&G, then concluded their report together, with Guo taking the lead and working late into the night. After five drafts, they finished it!

Alongside Guo, Korala Mudiyanselange Roshan Malindha, a professor of statistics before joining Renmin; Wei Qiang, who worked in advertising before his MBA; Wang Lu, a former car designer; and Abiral Khatri, a Renmin IMBA 2020 candidate, made up the Big Six.

Why should you get involved?

Guo says that balancing and winning such an intense competition with an IMBA workload was challenging for himself and his team, but the efforts have proved to be rewarding.

The Big Six won $3,500 for their first-place finish but more importantly, Guo says, they became lifelong friends. “The competition has become such a valuable memory which I believe all the team members will value through our lives,” he says.

The team’s instructor Barry Gunderson, who teaches financial markets and behavioral finance at Renmin, met the team a month before the final project’s submission date and says that they had already established their plan. 

As Renmin is a member of the 30-school strong Global Network for Advanced Management, Barry says the connections students make help them in their future careers.

“It’s very useful working cross-culturally and using the fundamental skills for financial analysis. All of those things are going to provide an additional foundation for success once the students enter the workforce again,” he says.

Guo agrees. The competition, he says, has helped him stand out in the job market. 

“It’s difficult to find an internship in an investment bank nowadays in China. But once I mentioned this award in my resume, I got the job interview opportunity almost every time.”