Virtual Finance Pitch Conference Breaks New Ground
May 27, 2021
“Being virtual has its upside,” observes Rob Feingold, faculty advisor to Isenberg’s annual student investment Pitch Conference. This year’s entirely online event on April 8 expanded the geographical reach of its previous, nonvirtual forerunners. Among this year’s eleven competing teams, first-time entries from McGill, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Colorado, and the University of Georgia joined returning competition from Isenberg, Harvard, Babson, Penn State, and other schools.
In the competition, which awarded three cash prizes, teams of two to four students each pitched their own investment opportunity to a panel of three judges.* Each team’s presentation was concise: a ten-minute pitch followed by three minutes of fielding questions and answers. With guidance from Feingold, a finance lecturer and the competition’s advisor since it debuted in 2016, an Isenberg student committee coordinated the event and recruited the teams. This year’s committee of 12 represented Isenberg’s Investment Club, Finance Society, Smart Woman Securities, and Minutemen Investment Funds. “During their summer internships at investment firms, our students talked up the event with fellow interns from other schools,” says Feingold “With five years in the bank, the event has gained a high profile; we have momentum.”
“The competition is just as much a networking and recruiting opportunity,” he adds. In previous years, it took place in Boston to maximize networking and attendance by talent acquisition teams from investment firms. This year’s competition also attracted employers—via Zoom. Feingold says that after the event, a number of Isenberg students were personally invited by employers to apply for internships next summer. “For me, our success using Zoom was really satisfying. It was flawless, seamless,” Feingold remarks. For him and the students, then, the online medium offered an unforeseen outcome: “It showed us how a virtual element might add to future events—after, of course, we return to our traditional in-person format.”
* John DePalma, Managing Director, Blackstone; Timothy Dias, Private Investor; David Trimmer, Research Analyst, Fidelity Investments
The competition thanks its sponsor, the Rupinder Sidhu Faculty Fellowship.