Carnegie Mellon University
August 21, 2020

MSCF Students Pitch to Alumni

What is the best way to practice a stock pitch? Do it in front of four finance professionals! MSCF incoming students recently had the chance to do just that at a virtual pitching event hosted by the MSCF program. 

Eight teams of four students pitched their ideas to four MSCF alums: Brandon Balena, Portfolio Manager at Blue Crest Capital Markets; Robert Hill, Asset & Liability Management Director at PNC; Neel Purohit, Macro Portfolio Manager at Barclays; and Matthew Seltzer, Portfolio Manager and Trader at SG Capital Partners. 

The MSCF students pitched a variety of financial opportunities:

  • An option strategy on implied volatility on a U.S. retailer
  • a yield curve “steepener” trade
  • “Election Day” trade on “Green New Deal”
  • a long/short trade on two equity indices, SPX and QQQ
  • long/short trade on gold miners and a basket of financials
  • an option strategy (iron condor) on a tech stock with a long underlying position
  • an option strategy (straddle) on a polling-adjusted basket of clean energy equities
  • an option strategy on VIX and SPX

The alumni gave detailed feedback on the students’ ideas and left them with some valuable general suggestions including:

  • Know your audience – be prepared to address likely questions
  • Put the “bottom line up front” (BLUF) – start with a punch!
  • Look carefully for typos
  • Prefer simplicity where possible
  • Assess the risk and develop risk scenarios
  • Use numbers to make the point but don’t get bogged down in the details
  • Be confident and show enthusiasm for the trade

Following the event, one first-year student commented, “It was a proper grilling. Such a cool opportunity to get brutally honest feedback from seasoned traders. Definitely learned a lot.”

The pitching event is just one of several opportunities MSCF students have to interact with MSCF alums. These include treks to major financial cities, networking events, and the MSCF Speakers Series. The 32 students who created pitches invested their time wisely. Thanks to our alumni for their contribution in making this event a great success!