What was your strategy to win? How did you prepare for each round?
We started by analyzing what points were awarded for and where each team member could provide the most value. Essentially, we understood that the challenge is centered around two fields: financial analysis and marketing. Combining the two in one presentation is possible only with solid teamwork. Therefore, the strategy was simple: strive to be efficient and creative, with a touch of perfectionism, but always bring your strongest side to the team.
Apart from the regular financial analysis, we concentrated first on a coherent story about the company, and then on slide design and presentation to complement the story. We understood the content was the most important thing, so we had to know our company in and out! We also realized that students were being judged on the clarity of the story and how competent they appear. One of the exercises we did was to take the opposite side of our recommendation and figure out what factors would make us change it. In the end, it is all about the story and how you get to your recommendation.
Each round, we analyzed what had changed, which new elements had been added, and who would be our audience. For example, we slightly tweaked the presentation to introduce the company to the global audience better and practiced how to pass the microphone on stage. Otherwise, our strategy on stage was to look and feel confident, dress to impress, smile, make eye contact, and have fun.
What obstacles did you face during the competition, and how did you overcome them?
Combining preparation for the Research Challenge with our exams was exhausting. We learned it was necessary to relax for half a day after studying for five days and spending the weekend on the Research Challenge. We learned to plan better, even weeks in advance, while respecting each other’s schedules and allowing enough time to rest.
What did you learn from participating in the Research Challenge?
If done diligently and with passion, the Research Challenge teaches 99% of everything you need to know about how to analyze a company, write an investment case, and present it to the audience. Achieving the last 1% can take all your life, as there is always something to learn or improve.
What did you go on to do after the competition?
I have been definitely getting more views on LinkedIn since the Research Challenge, and some recruiters are contacting me, mentioning the challenge as the main reason behind their interest. I currently work as a portfolio manager and a financial analyst, so I may say that my passion has carried over from the Challenge!
What words of wisdom do you have for other participants?
I have five “words” for new participants:
- Find teammates with aligned interests but diverse backgrounds and complementary skills.
- Openly voice your opinion (in a constructive way) within your group.
- Provide and accept criticism, which allows for a continuous feedback loop.
- Try to get feedback from other people whose opinion you trust but who are not necessarily accustomed to financial presentations.
- Most importantly, have fun!