Pitching a stock in a contest is never an easy thing to do. Just imagine how hard it is going to be for the eight students competing in the Maize and Blue Stock Pitch competition. After devoting hours of preparation for the event, factoring in a potential banking crisis will be challenging and rewarding for their future business endeavors.
Corey Tobin, partner and analyst at William Blair Investment Management, and a BBA graduate from Ross in 1995, said he's looking forward to the event.
“I am very excited to be part of U of M’s Maize & Blue Endowment Fund’s inaugural stock pitch competition. Professor Nezafat teaches one of the country’s premier asset management classes, giving both undergrad and graduate students a chance to practice their portfolio management skills in real-world conditions," he said. "This competition provides them with a unique opportunity to develop relationships with industry mentors, and I am hopeful it will play a key role in training tomorrow’s investment leaders.”
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The forthcoming event at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, set to occur on Friday, March 24, 2023, will be none other than the Maize and Blue Stock Pitch Competition, a platform aimed at presenting and evaluating the stock-picking capabilities of undergraduate and MBA students. It is important to note that this competition is succeeding the Undergraduate Investment Conference (UIC), which boasts the title of being the largest collegiate stock pitch competition and conference in North America.
The Maize and Blue Fund is a course offered by the Ross School of Business that extends the privilege to both undergraduate and MBA students to make real investment decisions in the stock market. To enhance and enrich the student experience, the Maize and Blue Stock Pitch Competition was introduced this year. Interestingly, this competition will include eight students, with six students being members of the fund, while two students were carefully selected from a pool of University of Michigan students who had actively taken part in the first round of the competition in February.
This stock-pitch competition is indeed an annual event hosted by the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, specifically targeted at undergraduates and MBA students enrolled in the Managing Maize and Blue Fund course. The eligible stocks must emanate from a universe of companies whose market capitalization surpasses the $500 million mark, with share prices above $2, as of the close of regular trading on December 31st, 2022.
Additionally, the equities must have a three-month average daily volume of at least 100,000 shares and must trade on the NASDAQ, NYSE, or NYSE AMEX (no OTCBB or PinkSheets). The opportunity will be evaluated as a long or short position with a three to 12-month investment horizon.
Tobin has gifted the Maize & Blue Fund to enable the competition to take place every year. This year's event is being organized by Tobin, Jordan Hymowtiz, and Pedram Nezafat. The students are also fortunate to have been assigned to a practitioner mentor who currently works in the capital markets, an initiative to foster continued learning and refine their pitches.
This stock-pitch competition is sponsored by William Blair, Philadelphia Financial Management, and Thrivent Asset Management.
The judges for this year's competition are no ordinary individuals:
- Corey Tobin - Director of Research and a Research Analyst for the U.S. Growth Equity team at William Blair Investment Management. He focuses on investments in U.S. small-cap technology companies. He previously served in William Blair’s sell-side research group, focusing on specialty software and healthcare IT companies. He received a B.S. in business administration with high distinction from the University of Michigan, an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
- Jordan Hymowitz - Managing Principal at Philadelphia Financial Management San Francisco and has been affiliated with the company since March 2004. Philadelphia Financial is a hedge fund that manages $1B in regulatory AUM. The managers' latest filing has disclosed $313MM in positions, which represents 30% of the manager's regulatory AUM.
- Matthew Finn, CFA - joined Thrivent in 2004 and is currently the Head of Equity Mutual Funds. He serves as a portfolio manager for the Thrivent Small Cap Stock Fund (since 2013) and the Thrivent Small-Mid Cap ESG ETF (since 2022).
In conclusion, the Maize and Blue Stock Pitch Competition is an unparalleled platform for students to gain significant experience in the financial industry. Not only does it allow the students to showcase their unique stock-picking skills, but it also grants them exposure to industry practitioners and mentors who can help guide their careers. We wish all the participants the best of luck in the competition, and we look forward to seeing the winners' success in the future.
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