Accounting and Financial Management students meet their first stock pitch
‘As a student who’s an aspiring CPA, what made you want to compete in a stock pitch competition?’
I was asked this question on two separate coffee chats - first by a Managing Director at CPP and then by a co-founder of Burgundy Asset Management. I had the opportunity to have insightful 1:1 chats with each businessperson as a part of my prize upon winning “THE BROKER,” an annual healthcare stock pitch competition by St. Michael’s Young Leaders, with the focus on raising money for charity.
Our team was interested in trying something new, stepping into the world of finance, and were drawn to an event that raised money for healthcare. We were a bit worried since we came from accounting-focused career paths, but we were all excited to explore and learn more. Thankfully, we received so much guidance throughout the month of competition, and the following five factors helped us put our best foot forward:
1. Strong education in accounting and finance
As fourth-year students in Accounting and Financial Management (AFM), we’ve each taken around 35 courses towards our degree, with a handful of compulsory courses in accounting and finance. Our studies paid off, as the judges were impressed with our core knowledge. When posed with questions regarding financial assessment, we were able to confidently speak about topics such as the implications of the company’s gross margins, foreign political risk, and impacts of a spin-off on a company’s forecasted valuation.
2. Skills gained from extra-cirrcular activities
Our involvements and responsibilities in the student community made us more well-rounded. For example, Zaineb and I were both Managing Directors on ACE Consulting Group, a student-run, pro-bono consulting club during our 3 years of involvement. This client-facing, leadership role trained us to approach answering questions that judges posed with confidence, helped us efficiently research the company we pitched, and prepared us to create a well-organized PowerPoint presentation.
3. Network of friends in the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF)
Our friends in the SAF come from a plethora of work experiences and were one of the biggest support groups we could have had in preparation for the competition. We reached out to our friends who have found success in stock pitch competitions and completed co-op work terms in investment banking and private equity. The were generous enough to guide us along the flow of a stock pitch and what they find crucial to include.
4. Receiving advice and feedback from mentors
Upon being shortlisted as top three finalists, we were fortunate enough to be matched with a mentor who is an equity analyst at RBC Capital Markets. Two days before pitch day, we came prepared to the call with what we thought was a slide deck 80% completed. By the end of our 60-minute call, we came to the consensus that it would be best to reconstruct most of our existing work such as, removing risks and mitigators from the core presentation. We were appreciative of the genuine advice our mentor provided us, as some of our leading sections, including what the market is missing, would not have existed otherwise.
5. Buildings friendships and strengthening the group dynamic
Zaineb, Josh, and I have been classmates, coworkers, and were team members for this pitch, but our friendship extends beyond those titles. Working as friends means that we had a lot of fun competing; we cracked jokes around the clock, shared a box of Church’s Chicken at 10 p.m. while formatting slides, took BeReals, and if one person was craving ice cream, another was already on their way to Marble Slab to pick up an order. I particularly appreciated the flexibility we had with each other; when someone was stuck on a section, we worked together to find a solution. Through us becoming close friends, it made this competition fun and even more engaging!
I am so thankful for everyone who extended their support and helped us bridge our accounting and finance worlds. Thank you to St. Michael’s Young Leaders, the sponsors, and Zaineb, and Josh for making this such a wonderful experience.
If you are about to compete in your own stock pitch competition, I wish you all the best and do not forget to enjoy the process!