In global finance last weekend, Yale was second best.
At the third annual Global Investment Research Challenge, held April 2 in London, a team of five Yalies challenged squads from Brazil, Singapore and Ireland, ultimately finishing in a tie for second place. Nanyang Technological University in Singapore claimed victory in the contest, which was sponsored by Chartered Financial Analysts.
Led by team captain Steven Hao ’09, the Yale team included Stephen Oshman ’10, Michael Simpson ’10, Martin Wexler SOM ’09 and Ayung Tseng SOM ’09. This was the first year Yale competed in the competition.
“We were completely bowled over by the caliber of Singapore’s performance,” Simpson said. “They had clearly spent an astronomical amount of time on their preparations. Their performance couldn’t have been any more polished. There’s no question that they deserved to win.”
The contest itself was a yearlong project in which teams analyzed a given company — in Yale’s case, Phillips-Van Heusen, one of the largest menswear suppliers in the world and owner of labels such as IZOD, Calvin Klein and Kenneth Cole — and compiled a report based on the market analysis of the company. The teams then prepared a 10-minute oral presentation using data from the report in front of a panel of experts, who then had 10 minutes to question the teams.
Simpson said he was particularly impressed with the teams from Brazil and Singapore, who had to present in a foreign language.
In preparing the report itself, Oshman said the team took the current recession into consideration: When projecting the company’s revenues, the Yalies turned to previous recessions and multiplied their effects according to scale. These compilations and calculations formed the bulk of the technical challenge in writing the report, he said.
To qualify for the competition, the Yale team beat out 13 other university teams from the tri-state area in a regional held in February, moving on to represent the New York division. Yale’s team was unique among the competing universities in that it was comprised of both undergraduate as well as graduate students. Members of the team said this diversity reflected well during competition and helped improve the chemistry of the team, which was important because of the immense workload the project entailed.
“I learned a lot about teamwork,” Simpson said. “It sounds cliché, but it’s definitely true.”