How AFM and case competitions go hand-in-hand!

Photo of FahadOutside of internships and co-op work terms, I’ve always found competitions to be the next best way to learn new skills that you can apply. I joined my first competition in the summer after my first year, where I participated in an M&A case competition held by hEDGE. There, I had to teach myself the basics of valuation methodologies, which became useful for courses, for joining the UW Finance Association, and for securing my first co-op job. While I didn’t learn everything right away, I gained a solid base to keep expanding on.

This year, after completing all of my co-op terms, I decided to join the UWaterloo team for the McGill International Portfolio Competition (MIPC). While the prize money was a good motivator, I figured I could also come out of this competition gaining more skills at my disposal. When we first started, it was pretty straight forward since I was used to researching industries and presenting outlooks from my co-op and extracurricular experiences. The part where I learned the most was definitely through researching how to allocate the portfolio’s investments across different asset classes. Here, I looked into various allocation strategies that were introduced in AFM 424 (Equity Investments). While I was somewhat familiar with them, I had to really understand what each of them was targeting so that I could build out a simulation to see which would be the best for our recommendation.

It took a while and I taught myself some Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to make it easier, but after testing out various strategies, it worked out and I was able to come up with a recommendation. It turned out that no other team had used this approach, and this helped us make it to the finals of the MIPC!

Ultimately, I think I will be using this again either for allocating my personal portfolio or in my future career.

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