Michaela is a T’15 who lived in Asia before Tuck, working in sales and trading for a bulge bracket investment bank. She is pursuing a career in Investment Management after Tuck and will be co-chair of the Investment Club next year.
A few weeks ago, a team of three Tuckies traveled to UCLA to compete in the UCLA MBA stock pitch competition against 11 other top MBA programs in the US & Canada.
Our pitch team (myself and two other first year women) competed at the Cornell Women in Investing Pitch Showcase back in November. After having a wonderful time and recognizing how much we learned, we signed on to compete at UCLA through the Tuck Investment Club. The format of the pitch competitions vary, but for UCLA we had one week to prepare two pitches: one from a pre-determined list of our first round stocks (we chose Deere & Company), and a final round buy or sell recommendation on Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. In ill-fated timing, the stock selections were released the day before Winter Carnival, but we managed to get some work in over the weekend and also relax with our classmates at the Winter Carnival festivities.
After choosing to work on Deere in the first round, we set out to consolidate our research into a presentation for each stock. The formal 12-minute presentation in front of a panel of investment industry professionals was followed by a 20-minute Q&A session, so we worked hard to make sure each of us had an area of expertise for potential questions from the judges. We applied core concepts from our fall semester Management Communication course to create a cohesive presentation and ensure our verbal delivery of information was concise and easy to follow. We utilized concepts from our Capital Markets and Corporate Finance courses to work on our valuation, and also spent many hours on one of the ten Bloomberg terminals in the Feldberg Library.
Before we knew it, we turned in our presentations and it was time to fly to LA. We hopped on the Dartmouth Coach after classes wrapped up on Thursday and were at Boston's Logan airport in plenty of time to grab dinner and board our flight.
The pitch competition started bright and early on Friday morning, especially for those of us still on East Coast time. As we greeted fellow competitors in the hotel lobby, our team was thrilled to see a familiar face from our previous Cornell competition- a female competitor from Booth. As it turned out, our three-person Tuck team and our Booth friend accounted for all of the women in the competition, despite having over 40 competitors. While our team looked different than many of the other teams, we were focused solely on executing the best pitch possible and representing Tuck to the best of our abilities.
After the first round concluded, we were approached by the Dean of UCLA Anderson who commended us on our team diversity and mentioned in her keynote remarks that she wanted more teams to be inclusive of women for next year’s competition. In reflecting on why so few women compete at stock pitch competitions, I think the reasons are twofold: first, there are simply fewer women than men who are interested in pursuing a career in investment management. The second reason likely has to do with inclusiveness of team selection at different schools, and that is where Tuck shines.
Our small community means that if you are motivated to do something, whether to start a club or compete as part of a Tuck team at an MBA stock pitch competition, you are likely to encounter encouragement from the MBA Program Office and support from your fellow students. After we posted a picture of our team on the Tuck Facebook page and mentioned that we were the only all-female team at the competition, we received countless comments of support from T’14s and T’15s, and even had a hashtag: #GoTuckGirlsGo. As a co-chair of the Investment Club next year, I look forward to continuing to encourage diversity on our pitch competition teams and ensuring that our process is as inclusive as possible.
Tuck alumni all over the world are generous with their time, so we were unsurprised to see that one of the competition judges was a T’86 who is a portfolio manager at a large West Coast investment firm. Thankfully, we couldn’t claim any special treatment as all teams competed under team monikers to eliminate any bias.
There are many opportunities for Tuck teams to participate in competitions with other MBA schools- from consulting case competitions, sports analytics, sustainable investing, real estate and stock pitches. It is a great way to work in teams outside of formal classes, to represent Tuck, and to network with other MBA students. I highly recommend getting involved!
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