One of our favorite events this year was UNC’s 17th Annual Alpha Challenge. This event spanned 2 days, including a full stock pitch competition followed by an interview and education day. Student teams from 24 universities across the nation came to Chapel Hill to pitch Equity and/or Fixed Income stocks. We had the opportunity to sit in on a few sessions and were impressed by the quality and professionalism of each team!
The morning of pitch day, each team presented two pitches to a panel of judges. As teams eagerly awaited news on who advanced to finals, we all had the chance to hear from an impressive sponsor panel during lunch. Each member of the panel shared their career journey, tips on how to succeed in finance, and many other topics. It was fascinating hearing their stories! After lunch, final rounds were soon underway – presented to a fresh set of judges and other teams who wanted to listen in. As the day wrapped up, students had a chance to network with each other before heading to the sponsor dinner to hear results. Richard Lockwood Chilton Jr, Chairman of the board and CEO of Chilton Investment Company, gave a spectacular keynote address before congratulating all participants and announcing the winners for both Equity and Fixed Income groups. Congratulations to Columbia Business School for winning the Equity group, UCLA Anderson for Fixed Income, and Kellogg School of Management for earning the Pat Hartley Award.
Catching up with the winning Equity team from Columbia Business School:
EliteGrad: “What was something you loved about the stock pitch competition?”
Jake Wheelock: “Pitching our investment ideas to roomfuls of seasoned analysts and portfolio managers – many of whom have unique frameworks and perspectives – was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Rachita Jain: “Interacting with judges who have different investment styles was a really valuable experience – the types of questions asked further elucidated different investing frameworks and forced us to think about our arguments and our assumptions in different ways.”
Scott Hall: “Getting pushed on our thesis by the judges during Q&A was a really valuable experience. The questions the judges asked us throughout the competition were (not surprisingly) very thoughtful and helped me get a better understanding of how they think through the key factors and risks of an investment.”
EliteGrad: “What was an important lesson you learned?”
Jake Wheelock: “Always be open to feedback. The scheduled mid-event meeting with Paul Howanitz, our assigned mentor for the competition, was instrumental in helping us iterate the rough edges of our FICO pitch and prepare for tough questions in the following rounds.” – Jake Wheelock
Rachita Jain: “Simplicity is very important – pitch a stock that the judges are already familiar with or whose business model can be explained in a few sentences. Spend the time at the beginning laying this out clearly, so that the judges are on the same page. You want to maximize the Q&A time going deeper into your thesis instead of having to spend it explaining the basics of the company.”
Scott Hall: “There is a balance to strike between being conservative in your assumptions while also highlighting the potential upside in an idea. We got some valuable feedback on this point from the judges for our FICO pitch, and it provided good context on how to lay out assumptions in the future.”
EliteGrad congratulates all participating teams and we’re looking forward to seeing you again at the Alpha Challenge in 2022!
Watch the full video recap here: