Illinois Tech Students Compete to Create New Strategies for Big Investors

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By Scott Lewis

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A team of finance students from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Stuart School of Business has advanced to the semifinals of the annual McGill International Portfolio Challenge (MIPC), a prestigious buy-side competition that awards $50,000 in cash prizes to the top performing teams and individuals.

The MIPC focuses on addressing societal issues in which large, institutional investors, such as pension plans, play a critical role. In response to the contest’s case study challenge, teams develop innovative strategies for portfolio design and asset management, aiming to satisfy the needs of a broad range of stakeholders with competing interests.

Illinois Tech is among 25 teams whose written proposals were selected for the semifinals out of this year’s field of 114 teams representing universities in 26 countries on six continents.

The team members, all from the Stuart M.S. in Finance program, are current students Oleksandra Babinchuk, Vitaliy Gnatenko, and Ben Wilson, and Alejandro Vergara Klug, who is a summer 2021 graduate of the program. Senior Lecturer of Finance Michael Rybak serves as the team’s faculty adviser.

For the virtual semifinal competition on Thursday, November 4, each team submits a revised proposal and gives a presentation and engages in a live question-and-answer session with a panel of judges who are prominent finance professionals. The top five teams then compete in the virtual MIPC finals the following day, when they go before the finals judges to present and answer questions. The finals presentations will be livestreamed to an international audience.

In addition to the competition, MIPC connects participating students with leaders in institutional finance through a virtual symposium, speaker series, small-group discussions, and networking opportunities.

Teams from Illinois Tech have made it to the MIPC semifinals in each of the five years that the contest has been held, with the 2017 and 2019 teams earning places in the finals.

Photo: [Clockwise from top left] Oleksandra Babinchuk, Vitaliy Gnatenko, Ben Wilson, and Alejandro Vergara Klug (Photos provided)