Griffith Business School students Tanner Noakes and Alex Byrne have done themselves and the University exceptionally proud, earning third place at the global finals of the Eurasia Asset Management Challenge in London late last month.

Tanner Noakes and Alex Byrne with their EAMC certificates.

Tanner and Alex were the only Australian students to reach the finals stage, joining two teams from the National University of Singapore (NUS) to comprise the top three regional teams who ventured to the UK to compete.

The three Asia-Pacific teams faced off against three teams from the London School of Economics (LSE), the final six having battled their way to the top of a general field of more than 100 teams, or about 300 students worldwide.

The Eurasia Asset Management Challenge gives students a platform to showcase their abilities in portfolio modelling and analytics while providing an opportunity to hone their presentation skills and expand their professional networks.

For their submission, final-year Bachelor of Commerce students Tanner and Alex came up with an international portfolio comprising index-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by considering a variety of issues, including risk, return, environmental, social and governance factors, they explain.

“We examined the macroeconomic, political and monetary issues faced by the equity/bond markets of the US, Europe, Japan, China and emerging markets,” Tanner said. “Finally, we factored in the global economic slowdown of 2019, the US/China trade war, and emerging political tensions in Europe.”

Tanner and Alex join their NUS competitors for a friendly pint at the former Bank of England.

Tanner says the preparation period in the lead-up to the competition was particularly intensive, especially given he “knew nothing about portfolio management” before taking on the competition, he explains.

“We had a two-week time frame to do it all, so we learnt everything we had to learn in one week, then did the actual project in the second week with 30-hour shifts back-to-back,” Tanner said.

“I learnt more in those two weeks than I had in my entire life — and all Commerce students know that these competitions are the best way to learn finance!”

Professor Robert Bianchi, of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, congratulated Tanner and Alex on their result, and said it was demonstrative of the high calibre of student that Griffith’s Finance program attracts.

“Our third place in the EAMC 2019 is external evidence that our best students are some of the most talented individuals in Australia and globally,” Professor Bianchi said.

“When our students enter global finance/investment competitions, they tend to finish in the top three, as well as out-competing some of the best universities around the world.

“Winning third place and outperforming some LSE and NUS teams is external validation that the Griffith Finance major is world-class. We teach some of the most talented students globally, who travel around the world representing Griffith University and our Finance program.”

Aside from getting down to business at the competition, Tanner says one of the more memorable aspects of the journey to the UK was the opportunity to meet and network with their fellow Asia-Pacific representatives from the National University of Singapore, and getting the chance to engage in some classic pastimes of the profession.

“Apart from the competition itself, one of the cooler moments was having a nice drink in a bar that was once the Bank of England, along with some of our Singaporean competitors,” he said.

“It’s the perfect place for finance students, as it combines the two most important parts of the industry: banking and drinking.”

The full cohort of EAMC 2019 finalists.

Taking part in the competition has undoubtedly left a lasting impression on the aspiring businessmen, with Tanner crediting both Griffith’s academic and executive staff — as well as an inherent belief in bolstering its students through providing the opportunity to take part in such industry-focused, practical experiences — as being some of the University’s key strengths.

“Professor Robert Bianchi’s mentorship was so eye-opening and beneficial to me as a finance student in this competition,” he said.

“It has given me the ultimate example of the kind of mentor I aspire to be … I simply would not have been able to travel for this awesome opportunity if not for the mentoring and funding I received from Griffith.”

“The amount of advantages I have received from the Business School, the Honours College, the Commerce Society, and Enactus is something I never thought possible,” he continued. “I will be grateful for their support till my dying days.

“Griffith University is low-key one of the best finance universities in Australia. I’ve studied at other unis, and I’ve found that the kind of opportunities and direct relationships with lecturers you get here are completely unmatched anywhere else.”