Students from Griffith Business School made a splash on the world stage recently as one of only eight teams selected for the finals of the Point72 Global Case Competition.

The trio comprising Caitlene Hillman, Matthew Neave and Max Punin beat out 400 other students, and were flown to New York to present their case to judges and battle against some of the world’s top educational institutions including Peking University, Bocconi University, and Columbia University.

“The Point72 competition is an annual global case competition that provides students with an opportunity to complete equity research,” Caitlene explains.

The team was given six days to select a company to value and present their case. “Every year competing teams are given a pool of listed companies to analyze. This year we focused in the fast casual restaurant industry and chose to initiate coverage on Wingstop, which is listed on the NASDAQ.”

Caitlene heard about the Point72 Competition while representing Griffith University at the Asia Investment and Banking Conference and was determined to set up a team. As Matthew had just participated in Griffith Business School’s Student Investment Fund, he had a great amount of experience with equity reports and valuations, which would prove helpful to the team. And first-year student Max completed the team after being suggested by a course convenor given his love of numbers, passion for macroeconomics and technical hedge fund knowledge.

Bachelor of Commerce student Caitlene says Griffith really helped prepare the team for the competition. “Griffith really bridges that gap between academia and the fast moving finance space,” she says. “We knew how to understand stock movements from the theory we learnt in the classrooms and the hands-on application in the trading room.”

Max Punin, Caitlene Hillman, Matthew Neave Point72 Competition New York City

Max Punin, Caitlene Hillman, Matthew Neave.

Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Business student Matthew says he thinks the team’s attention to detail gave their entry the edge. “We were given six days to complete our report and we spent the first three days doing background research on the company,” he explains. “We took a lot of time before we started doing the financials and forecasting valuation for the company, and I think that helped a lot because we picked a company we knew we could talk about and had some really solid investment drivers… anyone can create a model but once it’s created you need to be able to sell it.”

For the finals, the team had just 10 minutes to pitch their case to the judges, and then a further 10 minutes for a Q and A session. And while they didn’t win the overall competition, the team agrees the experience has been extremely beneficial.

“It was amazing because this is what analysts and hedge funds and banks actually do, so it’s a great experience to get that head start in our industry,” Max says. “Especially since I want to work in Hedge Funds in the US.”

Matthew agrees that it’s extra international experiences such as these that will help prepare him for the future world of work. “I think both people and businesses are looking for a more broad range of skills because of globalisation. These sorts of activities will hopefully prove to potential employers that I have skills internationally, help increase my cultural awareness and fulfill all those requirements as we move to a more globalised society.”

He continues: “If you are willing to take that extra step then Griffith really do have those opportunities to excel. Within a year of starting my studies I was sent to Singapore for a global internship, I got to join and help manage an investment fund, I was flown to New York because of a competition I entered after meeting a team of like-minded students… the opportunities are endless.

“Griffith Business School really gives you the tools to be remarkable.”

Caitlene says the chance to participate in extracurricular activities such as the Point72 Global Case Competition has helped prepare her for life after her studies. “I am a part of the GBS Student Leadership Program which is really helpful in terms of meeting more students, being more engaged with lecturers and academic staff and global opportunities. I also competed in the HULT Prize competition which sent me to San Francisco in March… In a competitive job world, you need to bring your resume to life and the only way to do that is to have the extracurricular and co-curricular activities that show you’re engaged and switched on.

“Griffith bridges the gap between industry, academia and research. The lecturers bring in the industry perspective into the classroom. I think Griffith really provides that real-world experience you need to succeed in your chosen field,” she says.