Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

Among the Best: SIF Team Nails Global Small Cap Competition

Author: Ideas with Impact

Posted on Mar 26, 2015

Category: Students , Programs

A team made up of UNB Fredericton’s Student Investment Fund students finished top of the table at the Van Berkom Small Cap Case Competition hosted by the John Molson School of Business at Concordia in Montreal March 20-21. The prestigious two-day First place winners of the Van Berkom Small Cap Case Competition L-R: Daniel Slipp, Jeff Mott (MBA candidates) and Josh Bubar (BBA student) with their mentor Glenn Cleland (Director, UNB’s Centre for Financial Studies).competition sponsored by Van Berkom Associates challenged students with a live case analyzing actual companies.  Universities participating included the University of Toronto (Rotman), Western University (Ivey), Queen’s, Simon Fraser and the University of Saskatchewan.  International universities participating in the competition included the University of Pittsburgh and Kent State.

The SIF team consisted of Jeff Mott, Dan Slipp (MBA candidates) and Josh Bubar (BBA student). The teams were not allowed to know any information about the company they were about to analyze in the first day of the competition.  The SIF team hit the ground running with the three hours they were allocated to dissect the company. They were then required to pitch to a panel of industry professionals with conviction in the space of three hours. The judging panel included representatives of some of the largest and most successful firms in the industry such as Van Berkom Associates, Burgundy Asset Management, Pembroke Asset Management, and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

The first company the team was called on to value was Thor Industries (NYSE: THO) a RV manufacturer and owner of the iconic Airstream brand. The team adjusted quickly to the tight deadlines and assessed the company in the same way that Van Berkom and Associates do, looking for quality management, sustainable competitive moat, and excellent return on capital. The final question was whether the company had the potential to double. The team concluded that, while the company had many positives and strong growth potential, ultimately it fell short of the investment criteria.

While the SIF team finished top of the table after round one, however they did not rest on their laurels. On the second day expectations were higher and the teams valued Professional Sporting Group (TSX: PSG) who owns the premier Hockey brand Bauer among other sporting brands. They were called upon to present to a panel including the competition and Van Berkom Associates founder Sebastian Van Berkom himself. Again, the SIF team concluded that while the company had positives it did not meet the investment criteria. They had to wait to find out their fate, however; as the judges announced the results in ascending order it became clear that the team had maintained the high standard they set on the first day.

The students credit their training with the Student Investment Fund in preparing them for this competition. As Jeff Mott described it, “The practical experience gained in SIF, alloyed with the strong academic foundation put us at an advantage. It is a good feeling when the senior partner at one of the most successful asset management firms flat out tells us - you guys nailed it”. Teammate Josh Bubar echoed that sentiment and added that the experience they gained from Toastmasters and participating in other competitions really helped them “Every judge commented on our ability to effectively convey our investment thesis, with one declaring it the best he has seen in the three iterations of the competition he’d been involved in.”

Overall the team is happy with the result, especially since this win came within two days of earning second place in the world in the ARGUS University Challenge. While they appreciate the cash prize ($3,000 to split between them) the biggest win for them is that they showed that UNB and the Student Investment Fund produces graduates who are the among the very best at their craft.

By Susan Boyce.

For more information contact Liz Lemon-Mitchell.