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From left, Matt Zumbach '09, Todd Buys '08 and Perry Vickery '09 won first place in the Alpha Challenge, held Nov. 9 at the University of North Carolina.

Kellogg students beat the market with stock pitch wins

Financial skills, insights lead Kellogg teams to top in national competitions

By Adrienne Murrill

11/16/2007 - Two teams of Kellogg students recently won top honors at national stock pitch competitions, putting their academic experiences to the test.

Winning first place at the third annual Evergreen Investments Alpha Challenge on Nov. 9 were Todd Buys ’08, Perry Vicky and Matt Zumbach, both ’09. This is the first time a Kellogg team has won the challenge, which was held at the University of North Carolina. Participating were 11 U.S. business schools and the London Business School.

The competition was an opportunity for the students to apply their academic learning to real-world experiences. “Essentially, we were equity analysts for the week, pursuing Kellogg MBAs on the side,” said Buys.

A week prior to the event the team received a list of 80 stocks, all in the transportation industry, Zumbach said. “Out of this list we had to pick one stock as a ‘buy’ and one stock as a ‘sell’ to present to a panel of mutual fund and hedge fund managers. In round one we beat the University of Chicago and in the finals we beat the home team, University of North Carolina, and the reigning champs, the London Business School,” he said.

“What helped us excel in this competition was not mastering the lessons from any one class, but bringing together many theories from various courses to derive an overall thesis,” Zumbach added. He said his team was the only one with a well-rounded presentation, including the analysis of supply and demand learned from economics courses; competition with customers learned from strategy classes; and the development of sound financial models gleaned from finance courses. “It was our ability to bring all these concepts together that allowed us to win this competition by a unanimous vote.”

Bringing additional acclaim to Kellogg were students who performed well in another contest, held on Nov. 2. Class of 2009 students Enzo D’Angelo, Nathan Mendes and Mike Tyree won second place at the Cornell MBA Stock Pitch competition.

The competition featured 12 three-person teams, all from the nation’s top MBA programs. Teams participated in two preliminary rounds, and the top four teams competed in a final round. The students were given 12 hours to prepare their presentations.

“Cornell organized a great competition with impressive judges asking challenging questions,” D’Angelo said. “We were excited to continue Kellogg’s strong showing at team competitions this year and appreciated the help of Professors Bob Korajczyk and Linda Vincent in preparing for the competition.”

Both teams also recognized the Investment Management Club for its help in getting them ready for this contest. “Prior to presenting our pitch to the panel of judges, we presented to the club, and they helped point out the strengths and weaknesses with our thesis and presentation,” Zumbach said. “The guidance and questions from the 20-plus members in attendance at the practice sessions was some of the best preparation we had for the actual event.”