A ten-person team of University students took second place in the Adirondack Cup, an investment competition, originally held on April 10. The competition, which took place between October 2016 and April 2017, offers students the opportunity to create their own “small cap portfolio” and test their research and investment skills.
Twenty-one colleges participated in the competition alongside Wesleyan. This is the sixth year the University has participated, and these recent results are the school’s best performance to date, coming in second, after Union College.
Teams were required to divide five million virtual dollars between five small-cap stocks from a variety of industries. Members of the University’s team were designated different stocks to research within each industry, and the team then came together to decide which stocks to invest the most in given prevailing market conditions. The University’s team focused specifically on the technology sector, noting that the industry had been performing strongly during the time of the competition.
The team was then given two months to monitor its stocks. Daniil Plokhikh ’19, a member of the team, noted that in the beginning stages, the team was not on a trajectory to win.
“For the first couple of months, we were not doing so great and floated around 14th place….In the beginning of the spring semester [however] we noticed significant growth in our portfolio and began moving up the leaderboard,” he explained.
Eddie McCann ’19, the captain of the University’s team, noted that Wesleyan rose to second place through a well-placed investment.
“We had one opportunity to change our portfolio after winter break, and we bet as much as possible on one technology company called Cray Inc., which performed strongly and catapulted us to second place,” he wrote in an email to The Argus.
Associate Professor of Economics Abigail Hornstein advised the team. Hornstein noted that this is one of two competitions in which Wesleyan participates; the other is called the Chicago Quantitative Alliance Cup, in which students have been participating for five years. She noted the value of the two competitions.
“I think these competitions are an incredible opportunity for our students,” she wrote in an email to The Argus. “They do a lot of learning on their own and they are able to invest a tiny pot of money that is [commingled] with the endowment. But, as we all know, a little external competition can greatly motivate a lot of learning. So, I’m thrilled that our students have enjoyed the competitions year after year—and proud that they have consistently done well in both competitions each year. I also think it is fantastic that students are able to gain hands-on experience with investment ideas where they draw on their own academic experiences.”
Both McCann and Plokhikh noted that they were glad to have participated in the competition.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot from this experience,” Plokhikh explained. “In particular, I now have a better understanding of which industrial sectors are flourishing and how their behavior can change throughout the year.”
“Students gain an opportunity to learn and practice the investing process,” McCann said. “This means researching stocks before the competition, tracking our holdings during the competition, and making appropriate adjustments when we are given the chance. The competition was a formal opportunity for us to work together, discuss our findings, and make crucial decisions as a team. Overall, we are really pleased with our results.”