Though they hailed from different schools and cities, even different countries, the high school students participating in the KWHS South Asia & Middle East Investment Competition finale on February 11 shared essential emotions and convictions: they were excited, a bit nervous, and prepared to present with a passion worthy of even the most seasoned asset management team.
They did not disappoint, often wielding ratios, SWOT analyses and strategy development tools like stock market pros. “These teams were incredibly impressive on many levels, from content and preparation to strong delivery,” said Dominic Johnson, director of business operations for Knowledge@Wharton and a judge for the competition finale, which was held for the second straight year during the One Globe Conference at The Imperial Hotel in New Delhi, India. The finale was run in partnership with BrainGain Magazine, a study abroad magazine for students, their parents and mid-career professionals in South Asia, and sponsored for the first time by FLAME University, an institution based in Pune, India, that is revolutionizing higher education in the country with its liberal education approach. FLAME’s Investment Lab works to deliver concepts and decipher the art of value investing for students. Concluded Johnson: “Selecting the top three teams at this year’s regional finale was a daunting task.”
And now, for this year’s regional champs. Teams taking home trophies were first-place winners One Up on Herd Street from Amity International School, Noida, led by 11th grader Simariot Kaur Bhatia and advisor Manvir Singh Rana; second-place winners The Rainmakers from Amity International School, Saket, led by 11th grader Rhea Gupta and advisor Monica Thareja; and third-place winners Silver Stone Partners from The International School, Bangalore, led by 11th grader Pranav Prabhas and advisor Naveen Tom.
The finale event featured 12 finalist student teams presenting their investment strategies to a prestigious panel of judges from finance and academia. The jury included Rajesh Sehgal, senior executive director of the emerging markets group at Franklin Templeton Investments; Rajat Kumar, vice president of transaction monetization for SnapDeal, one of India’s top e-commerce firms; and Johnson of Knowledge@Wharton.
In addition to the big winners, the following teams were among the top 12 selected to compete in last Saturday’s finale: The Alchemists from Inventure Academy in Bangalore; Alpha Infinitum from Amity International School, Sector 43, Gurgaon; the Corporate Pirates from Amity International School, Pushp Vihar; Gamma Papa Investments from Neerja Modi School in Rajasthan; Inception of Sri Kumaran Children’s Home in Bangalore; the Marxist Moneymakers from Bhavan Vidyalaya, Chandigarh; Solito Negotium of Canadian International School in Singapore; Stock Mubarak from Amity International School, Mayur Vihar; and The Wolves of Dalal Street of NSS Hill Spring International School in Mumbai.
This year’s regional finale in India was infused with a spirit of critical thinking and knowledge – both near and dear to the KWHS mission – as the judges challenged team members to think on their feet about investment concepts and defend specific aspects of their strategies. For example, they asked questions like: “Why might investing in a company with many subsidiaries be risky?” If team members struggled to answer, the judges posed the same questions to the audience, inviting students to volunteer their best guesses and guiding them toward answers with still more thought-provoking questions. “This exchange was really rewarding,” noted Diana Drake, managing editor of Knowledge@Wharton High School. “KWHS greatly values the learning aspect of the investment competition as a financial literacy tool, and the judges’ engagement with the students at this year’s finale took this effort to an even deeper level. It was inspiring for all of us to experience the students’ earnest responses.”
The winning teams distinguished themselves by delivering enthusiastic and well-rehearsed presentations that were strong on fundamentals, but yet not too overloaded with content and analysis, which puts teams at a risk of losing their audience. The winning teams also demonstrated equal team member participation and articulated unique aspects of strategy development.
In addition to its interesting discussion of the team’s stock selection, portfolio construction and risk management, One Up on Herd Street, for example, described its community-based High School Investors program to “provide financial literacy among high school students” in India. The Rainmakers, one of only a few woman-led teams, impressed with a strong understanding of how the political and economic landscapes in both the U.S. and India influenced the markets and ultimately their investment decisions. Silver Stone Partners invented the Silver Score, a framework calculating the relative value of companies and factoring in their prices to determine a score that guided their stock selections. Despite a barrage of questions from the judges, team members successfully defended their unique approach. In the end, the winning teams provided dynamic presentations, sound analysis and creative ideas that set their strategies apart.
The annual One Globe Conference, hosted by Salwan Media Ventures, brings together global thought leaders to discuss how to build a 21st century knowledge economy in India and South Asia. Both Salwan Media Ventures as well as its affiliate BrainGain Magazine, have hosted our KWHS South Asia & Middle East Investment Competition Finale for the past two years.
The KWHS Investment Competition is a free, online investment game run by Knowledge@Wharton High School, that encourages high school students to learn and practice investment concepts, while also building a portfolio of stocks using Wharton’s OTIS investment simulator. Students, competing in teams of four to nine, are ultimately judged on how well they develop and articulate their investment strategies. Hundreds of teams and thousands of students participate in both the South Asia & Middle East Regional competition, as well as the Global Regions competition, which is currently underway and concludes in March 2017.
One Up on Herd Street, The Rainmakers and Silver Stone Partners have been invited to participate in the grand finale of the Global Regions competition on May 5 and 6, 2017 at Wharton in Philadelphia. Please send any questions or ideas to KWHScompetition@wharton.upenn.edu.