Pitch Perfect Farmer School Team 2nd in Nation

November 2012

The Farmer School has always had a strong track record at the Ross Stock Pitch Competition, hosted by the University of Michigan, but this year, a team of four finance seniors exceeded all expectations. Brian Elinsky, Jim Braun, Jon Quintero, and David Wang, advanced to the final round with the University of California Berkeley and the University of Virginia, and went on to place second in the nation.

Professor Steve Wyatt, Chair of the Finance Department at the Farmer School, remarked on the significance of ranking alongside such prestigious business institutions. "It certainly says that we're in pretty good company. It underscores the fact that we put a lot of emphasis on professional development and that we continue to attract terrific students. This is a confirmation."

Twenty-three universities participated in the 2012 stock pitch competition, held October 26-27 at the Ross School of Business. The competition serves as the main focus of the annual Undergraduate Investment Conference at the Ross School of Business, which is organized by Michigan Interactive Investments (MII).

This year, Miami pitched CJES (C&J Energy Services Inc.). The other finalists, University of California Berkeley and University of Virginia pitched ESRX (Express Scripts Holdings), and LQDT (Liquidity Services), respectively. Elinsky emphasized the importance of being thorough and strategic when crafting the stock pitch: "When you are competing against schools like UVA, you can't just be proficient at valuing a company, you need to differentiate your analysis. We modeled the financials of C&J Energy Services from a granular level. We also reverse engineered the market's consensus EPS into what we believe the market's consensus assumptions are for C&J. Then we attempted to prove our assumptions were more bullish than the market's through channel research."

Selecting a company, strategizing to accommodate for fluctuations in the market, and presenting with style all take a great deal of experience and skill. Braun said it was important to take an unexpected approach. "It is comparatively easy to do enough work to understand a company or model it effectively, the hard part is finding clear trends or catalysts that the professionals who do this for a living are missing, and then explaining and quantifying them to the judges in a limited time frame."

Each team had just 12 minutes to present their pitch in the first round, 15 minutes in the final round. The combination of the Farmer School curriculum and experiential learning programs were crucial in preparing them for this competition. Noted Braun, "Things such as the Investment Banking Club, William Blair Investment Banking Case Competition, and the Cleveland Research Stock Pitch Competition provide practical experience that is difficult to replicate in class."