The journey from challenge to finalists

IRC Challenge Second Place 2B teamEntering the world of finance was a very rewarding journey. The SAF Investment Research Challenge (IRC) allowed ambitious second-year students like us, who lack practical experience but have a passion for this field, to explore the intricacies involved in diving into a company, understanding an industry, analyzing its financials and much more. These are all useful practices, as all members of our team have a variety of career goals including but not limited to investment banking, sales/trading, and private equity. In this year’s ninth annual IRC, eleven teams (42 students) participated in-person in the first round and four teams, including our team, advanced to the final round that was held virtually.

The finance courses in Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) that our team members have completed so far have been very foundational and have given us great starting points, however, there is no greater learning opportunity than using real-life examples and situations to understand the formation of investment decisions. Our group investigated Gildan, a Canadian manufacturer of branded clothing, and pitched a buy recommendation for its stock based on the extensive research that we conducted. Many of the steps we took to reach the final recommendation involved activities that we had never completed before. For example, exploring different valuation strategies such as the discounted cash flow model and comparable company analysis allowed us to explore companies in the clothing industry while also learning about the different assumptions associated with these models (i.e., industry revenue growth, credit ratings of companies, cost of equity calculations, and more). After reflecting on this experience, all four members of our team are extremely grateful for the opportunity to conduct a stock pitch.

Knowing the correct approach to pitching a stock and being able to effectively communicate our findings will give us an invaluable skillset for our future careers. With some of our teammates having completed interviews for positions in capital markets where stock pitches are extremely common and watching experienced upper-year students and judges that were industry experts provide us with input, all helped us find techniques to improve and do even better in future challenges.

Overall, we would like to issue a buy recommendation for IRC, and it is based on our investment merits outlined above, all of which contribute to its unique value proposition.

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