Foster Competes in the 2023 Undergraduate Investment Conference
In February, my team and I (Camden Kaminsky, Connor White, and Yash Savla) embarked on a journey to the University of Michigan for the 2023 ENGAGE Undergraduate Investment Conference. The conference presented a unique opportunity as it featured several top buy side firms such as Insight Partners, Point72, etc., which being headquartered in New York tend to have a minimal presence on the West Coast. The event was broken down into two components: the nation’s largest undergraduate stock pitch competition and a series of speakers/panels highlighting leaders in the industry.
We initially heard about this opportunity due to the stock competition and had to apply for a spot to compete by submitting a one-pager outlining our investment thesis. We proposed a pair trade going long Teradata (NYSE: TDC) and short Snowflake (NYSE: SNOW), and were selected as one of the 23 finalist teams out of 100+ applicants from across the country. Since this was the first time anyone on our team had competed in such a competition, we spent the next few weeks talking to professors, industry experts, past competitors, etc. to craft the perfect pitch deck and financial model. Additionally, after speaking with Laura Edwards, the Undergraduate Programs office graciously decided to sponsor our travels to Ann Arbor, making this trip possible.
Before we knew it, we were on the plane to Detroit rehearsing our pitch on the plane. On the first day of the conference, we presented our pitch to 2 Evercore Investment Bankers before heading to the Auditorium for the conference kickoff. Next, we heard from a host of spectacular speakers including Joanna Reiss (Partner & Co-Head of Impact at Apollo Global Management), and Antony Ressler (Co-Founder of Ares Management). However, the most notable speaker of the first day was Howard Marks (Co-Founder of Oaktree Capital Management), one of the most renowned investors in the world. He shared advice regarding his approach to his career, investing, and overall philosophy on life. Once the event closed out for the day, we had the opportunity to explore Ann Arbor and highly recommend checking out Good Time Charlie’s for their burgers and excellent deals.
The next day was equally enthralling as we heard from a panel of investors from Caspian Capital, Insight Partners, and Point72. This day also involved the final round of the pitch competition and while we did not make it to the final 3, we were excited to see what their presentations looked like. The final rounds were viewable by all of the attendees of the conference, and featured an extremely impressive lineup of judges, including Jaimi Goodfriend (Founder & Director of the Point72 Academy). The judges were ruthless during the Q&A section, but the teams were able to hold their own. The UT Austin team and their pitch to long Mdu Resources Group Inc. (NYSE: MDU) was particularly impressive, and they ended up being awarded first place which consisted of a $5,000 cash prize along with 1-on-1 coffee chats with Jaimi Goodfriend.
Overall, this turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of our college careers. We got to compete on one of the nation’s biggest stages, learn about industries of interest that we had limited access to on the west coast, and explore a new university. It is easy to get caught up in a UW or even Seattle bubble, and making an effort to find opportunities to expand your perspective goes a long way. Once again, we are extremely grateful for the support of Foster and Laura Edwards in making this trip a possibility and hope this post inspires you to pursue similar opportunities!