Our Journey to Winning the SAF Investment Research Challenge (IRC)
The 10th edition of the School of Accounting and Finance’s (SAF) Investment Research Challenge (IRC) brought anticipation and excitement. As a team of students who enjoy pitch competitions, we knew we had to try our best during the competition if we were to win the top prize. After weeks of preparation and a day of competing, we were incredibly happy to hear that we won first place!
The Investment Research Challenge, a SAF Competition sponsored by generous alumnus Anish Chopra, is a stock pitch competition where students are assigned a public company to analyze and value. Students are encouraged to complete equity forecasting and market analysis, with the goal of uncovering contrarian views and differentiating perspectives from market analysts. Our team, Luka (2A AFM), Chiranjeev (3A AFM), Jai (2B CFM) and Waleed (4A AFM) worked tirelessly to analyze our assigned company and present a sell recommendation despite the broader market believing the company was a buy. We spent hours reading financial reports, calling store locations, speaking with industry experts, and analyzing satellite imagery which helped us understand the company on a deeper level. The goal of our pitch was to consider ideas that market participants such as research analysts had not understood and that were overlooked in order to share a narrative that was contrary to the market consensus.
Our main differentiating factors came through our in-depth primary research and our involvement in Waterloo Private Capital and Waterloo Business Review (among other SAF-related clubs) which added experience to our expertise. These types of clubs attract driven SAF students who enjoy financial markets and think critically about the business world around them. Our time in these clubs over the past few years has enabled us to understand markets, analyze companies and work effectively with industry professionals. We additionally leveraged past co-op experiences; for example, two members of our team had previously worked in investment banking within Metals & Mining coverage groups, and we based a large part of our thesis on an analysis of the mining sector within Eastern Canada.
Overall, our team is happy that we competed in this year’s Investment Research Challenge! We were able to learn a lot about pitching, network with industry professionals and receive feedback from professors on how to further improve our delivery. We look forward to bringing these skills to our future co-ops, and we are excited to compete in future competitions together.