Wildcats of Wall Street: Students pitch stock recommendations for cash prizes

Courtesy photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Students and faculty gathered in the auditorium of the College of Business Administration Building to listen to the stock pitches of finalists in the college’s first Gates Capital Stock Pitch competition Friday afternoon. The competition challenged students from Kansas State to research, review and recommend a buy, sell or hold order for their stocks of choice.

The Gates Capital Stock Pitch competition, established by alumnus Jeff Gates of Gates Capital Management, is designed to test the research and presentation skills of 55 student teams, narrowing the competition to five teams. The finalists then compete for a share of $10,000.

“We appreciate the opportunity to help students learn about the investment process and to become more passionate about picking stocks,” Gates said.

The finalists persuaded judges with quantitative and qualitative analyses of their chosen stocks. Judges questioned their potential for market competition under current economic conditions in the U.S. and around the world.

Judges graded each report based on qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis and the uniqueness of the recommendation. After the finalists had presented their reports, judges deliberated and announced the winners.

Teammates Zach Case, senior in finance and accounting, and Kyle Fleming, senior in finance, came in first place with their buy recommendation for stock in Fortune Brands Home & Security. They each won $5,000.

Case said the company whose stocks are being analyzed can make or break a pitch.

“Pitching a company that you don’t believe in or that you don’t understand, it’s not going be fun,” Case said.

Al Basha, senior in finance, said his team chose to work with the stock for Snap-on Incorporated, a manufacturing company for high-end tools and equipment. Basha described Snap-on as a strong company with pricing power, cash flow and the ability to beat competitors.

Basha estimated that he and his teammates invested roughly 40 hours of qualitative and quantitative research into the competition over the course of the semester.

Basha and his team members tied for second place with teammates Reagan Mathes, junior in economics, and Cooper Kinley, sophomore in business, representing Eco Oil & Gas. Each team received $2,500 in prize money.

Other finalists analyzed the stocks for Accenture and Sherwin-Williams.

During his closing remarks, Gates said the best students at K-State are very competitive in analyst and money management positions.

Ansley Chua, head of the Department of Finance, said the competition is expected to continue next fall.

For more information about the Gates Capital Stock Pitch competition, visit the College of Business website.