Aiming for a prize of $2,000, groups of students competed in the Michigan Interactive Stock Pitch Competition Friday.

About 50 students gathered in the Biomedical Research Building to watch student teams participate in the competition. But rather than anxiously rehearse their pitches, the contestants were milling about the lobby before the event, goofing around with their friends and snacking on Potbelly sandwiches.

Four teams from MII – a student group interested in finances and stock theory – competed in the group’s second annual stock competition for a prize of $2,000.

The contest gave each three-member team eight minutes to convince the audience and the three judges that their company was the best prospect to buy. Each team gave a PowerPoint presentation including the company history, financial data and a question and answer session. Ameriprise Financial funded the event.

In order to win the competition, a group had to garner at least three of the four votes. Three of these votes are from the judges, and one from the audience.

The winners – Engineering juniors Jason Shoemaker and Julian Mancia and LSA junior Reid Benjamin – represented the consulting firm FTI Consulting, Inc.

“We really wanted to win it, and it’s exciting to come here and put our expertise together and win it,” Shoemaker said. “We really believed in it, and I’m glad it worked out.”

A $300 second-place prize was awarded to the General Electric team.

LSA freshman Vishy Santaprakash, a member of the GE team, said a lot of time and research went into choosing a company that seemed the most marketable.

“We tried to find a company we felt had potential in the near and long term,” he said. “As soon as we did that we went in and did our homework on the company’s website. We got a copy of the annual report, read through, saw some figures we liked and saw things other people might like and are persuasive.”

The teams began competing March 19 with 16 other groups in the preliminary round and then were given another week to fine tune their presentations and add an extra three minutes to their project.

Santaprakash said his group avoided the complex numbers and flashy PowerPoints that plagued many groups in the first round.

“They were intelligent and great presentations. However when they got caught up in the numbers – finances is a very broad subject – sometimes their arguments fell against them,” he said. “Our group decided we wanted to stick to a basic argument, because at the end of the day, we are presenting a pretty nuts and bolts company.”

Shoemaker and Benjamin are both members of Pi Lamba Phi. Benjamin said he asked members of the fraternity to attend in order to get a leg up on the competition.

“No question, they had a vote,” he said. “To get an audience vote, you have to have a lot of friends there, but at least one judge was convinced of it. It wasn’t all friends, but it was a big part of it.”

Shoemaker said he intends to use his $666.67 to pay for rent and more FTI stock. Mancia said he will use his share for rent in New York City while working an internship with Barkley this summer. Benjamin said he intends to use his in a slightly more generous manner.

“I’m going to donate my share to the American Cancer Society because relay for life is coming up soon,” he said.

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