The Ben Graham Centre for Value Investing at the Ivey Business School held an annual value stock picking competition for teams from MBA schools around the world. Participating teams competed for $17,500 in cash prizes, as well as complimentary attendance to the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference and to the Annual General Meeting of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. in Toronto, Canada. These events provide a forum for participants to hear from distinguished keynote speakers in investment management along with an opportunity to network with prominent value investors. The key objective of the competition is to expose the participating students to the value investing approach of stock analysis and to spread the word of value investing with MBA programs around the world.

This stock picking competition is different from others in that,

1) It focuses on the value investing approach to stock analysis and follows the principles of value investing as taught by Benjamin Graham and practiced by some of the most successful investors of our time.
2) It is geared towards a maximum of 30 MBA programs from around the globe by including schools from Asia, Australia, Europe as well as North and South America.
3) Valuation reports are judged for the quality of their analysis ahead of time and the best three groups are invited to Toronto, Canada to present another stock valuation to a panel of top global value investors, who determine the winning group.
4) Significant awards are given to the top three groups.


Process & Judges

The competition consists of two rounds (for specific dates, see the current year's competition timetable below).

In the 1st round of the competition, one team from each school consisting of two to three students submits a maximum ten page (plus necessary exhibits) research report to the competition managers (see contact details below) in late January of the year of the competition. The research report is of a single stock from a pre-determined list of value stocks that is shared with participating schools ten days prior to the submission deadline. 1st round judges include the following industry professionals: Reyer Barel – Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., Ajay Gopal – East Coast Fund Management Inc., Scott GrybaBritish Columbia Investment Management Corporation, Achilleas Taxildaris - Morningstar and Edgar Vergara – RBC Capital Markets. The submitted reports are divided equally among each of these judges who assess the quality of the research analysis, valuation and strength of the resulting investment thesis of each report and choose one from their respective subset. Dr. George Athanassakos, Ajay Gopal and Edgar Vergara then choose three finalists from this group of five who are invited to participate in the 2nd round of the competition. The three teams chosen as finalists are notified in early February.

In the 2nd round of the competition, a new company to analyze and value is given to each finalist team in early April. This company will be the same for all finalists. Each finalist team is required to submit a PowerPoint presentation of no more than 20 slides (plus necessary appendices) to the competition managers a week later. Each finalist team is invited to Toronto, Canada to deliver a 20 minute presentation (plus 20 minutes for Q&A) of their respective analyses to the following 2nd round judges who are all distinguished global value investors: Ken Broekaert Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. (Canada), Wayne Peters – PetersMacGregor (Australia), Robert Robotti – Robotti & Company Advisors LLC. (United States), Kim Shannon – Sionna Investment Managers (Canada), and Jeff Stacey Stacey Muirhead Capital Management (Canada). Presentations will take place a day before the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference.


Benefits & Costs

Each finalist team is guaranteed a cash prize, with first place awarded $10,000, second place $5,000 and third place $2,500. Each team is invited to attend the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference in Toronto, with all conference fees waived. Finalist awards are presented during the luncheon at the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference. Each finalist team is also invited to attend the Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. Annual General Meeting to be held a day after the Ben Graham Centre’s Value Investing Conference in Toronto. Finalist teams are required to pay their own airfare to Toronto, but all hotel accommodations and most meals in Toronto are covered.


Participating Schools

While select schools from Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America are invited to participate in order to reflect the global nature of the competition, any graduate program that is interested in participating can email the competition managers for further information with regards to the application process. The number of schools participating is limited to 30.

Schools are required to submit their team member information in early December of the year prior to the year of the competition. A firm commitment from each team is required through a non-refundable fee of $100. Schools that have interest from multiple teams are encouraged to hold an internal competition prior to the second week of December to determine the one team that will represent their school.


The Value Investing Process

Students unfamiliar with the value investing process and valuation may wish to read the book by Greenwald, Bruce C.N., et al. “Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond or attend Dr. Athanassakos' Value Investing Seminar.


Our Team

Competition Organizer & Chair
Dr. George Athanassakos

Dr. George Athanassakos is a Professor of Finance and the Ben Graham Chair in Value Investing at the Ivey Business School, which he joined in July 2004. He is also the Founder and Director of The Ben Graham Centre for Value Investing. Prior to joining Ivey, Dr. Athanassakos spent a number of years at various research-related positions with banking and trust companies in Canada and Greece, and taught at York University and Wilfrid Laurier University, where he was professor of Finance and Founder & Director of Laurier’s Financial Planning Program. He has a BA in Economics and Business Administration from The School of Industrial Studies of Thessalonica, Greece, and an MA in Economics, an MBA and a PhD in Finance from York University. The Financial Planning Standards Council has bestowed Dr. Athanassakos with the Fellow of
FPSCTM distinction for his outstanding contribution to furthering FPSC's mission and for advancing the financial planning profession. See more on Dr. Athanassakos’ bio.

Competition Co-Manager
Edgar Vergara

Edgar Vergara is a 2013 graduate, with distinction, of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at the Ivey Business School at Western University located in London, Ontario, Canada. Edgar is currently working in the High Yield Capital Markets group at RBC Capital Markets, focused on structuring and originating Canadian dollar high yield credit. Prior to attending Ivey, Edgar was a Portfolio Manager at Stanton Asset Management, responsible for North American high yield and Canadian convertible debt. Edgar also holds a Bachelor of Commerce (with distinction) from Concordia University and is a Level III CFA Candidate.

Competition Co-Manager
Ajay Gopal

Ajay Gopal is a 2013 graduate, with distinction, of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at the Ivey Business School at Western University located in London, Ontario, Canada. Currently, Ajay is a Senior Credit Analyst with East Coast Fund Management, a Toronto-based hedge fund. Prior to attending Ivey, Ajay was an Associate at Fundamental Advisors, a New York based private equity firm focused on distressed investments within the U.S. municipal bond market. It is at Fundamental where he was first introduced to value investing, investor activism and being a contrarian to the market. Prior to that, Ajay was a Structuring Analyst at Citigroup within its U.S. Municipal Structured Products group, also in New York. He is a proponent of the value investing philosophy and currently serves as an Ivey Value Fund Fellow. Ajay also holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Electrical Engineering as well as a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Economics, both from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He is a Level III CFA Candidate.




2016 Stock Picking Competition

Details of the 2016 competition are available here.


2015 Stock Picking Competition

Details of the 2015 competition are available here.


2014 Stock Picking Competition

Details of the 2014 competition are available here.