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W&L Students Claim First Place at University of Georgia Stock Pitch Competition A four-person team comprised of John Schleider ‘24, Diwesh Kumar ‘24, Bradford Bush ’25 and Drew Thompson ‘25 claimed the $3,000 top prize for their pitch on CVS Health.

Stock-Pitch W&L Students Claim First Place at University of Georgia Stock Pitch CompetitionDrew Thompson ‘25, Diwesh Kumar ‘24, John Schleider ‘24 and Bradford Bush ‘25.

Four Washington and Lee University students took home first-place honors and a $3,000 top prize at the 10th annual Stock Pitch Competition held Feb. 23 at the University of Georgia.

The event, which is organized by the Terry College of Business’ Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) and the Terry College Department of Finance at the University of Georgia, brings together investment professionals to judge student teams who make researched pitches for U.S.-listed equities with a market capitalization of $1 billion or more.

W&L’s team consisted of seniors John Schleider and Diwesh Kumar, and juniors Bradford Bush and Drew Thompson. All four students are members of the Williams Investment Society (WIS), and each member brought a different skill set to the team’s presentation. Together, they will equally split the $3,000 grand prize.

“Drew is very skilled at writing, Bradford is great at researching, Diwesh is great at financial modeling, and I like to think I’m good at making slideshows,” said Schleider. “Through our participation in the WIS, we knew that each of us would excel at what mattered most – presenting. What’s great is that, due to our experiences, we were all able to contribute to each part of the final product, making it a true team effort without silos.”

The W&L team applied to the competition in January seeking to pitch the CVS Health Corporation, which provides health care and retail pharmacy services in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The W&L contingent sold their vision for the company as an integrated healthcare stock whose value would only increase as the baby boomer generation becomes eligible for Medicare.

“We employed a top-down approach in our screening process, very similar to how we do it in WIS,” said Kumar about why the group chose CVS for its pitch. “We identified some broader macro themes in the beginning and then found some companies that we thought had a good story and were undervalued in our opinion. We finally settled on CVS because it had a good contrarian story for why we think the stock was undervalued, it was a business we understood since it is part of the WIS portfolio, and it was a company we thought we could present well in a short timeframe.”

The W&L quartet was among 15 teams from colleges across the country that were selected to travel to Athens, Georgia, for the final competition. The group began the event with a morning pitch and was among three finalists selected for another pitch in the afternoon.

“I’m elated about the whole experience,” said Kumar. “The entire event was well organized, there were high-profile speakers from very good firms, and there were students who were doing amazing things across the country. I’m passionate about finance, so I love being in rooms where I get to talk finance with all these different people. I’ll be graduating soon so I’m unsure when I’ll pitch a stock next, but you do learn a lot about the world of finance from such competitions.”

A W&L team tied for first at the 2023 competition with Florida State University. This year, the quartet from Lexington came home as the solo winners, with Florida State earning $2,000 as the second-place finisher. A team from Southern Methodist University placed third to claim a $1,000 prize.

All told, teams from 52 schools applied to be a part of the competition, up from 28 applicants in 2023. Joining the three finalists and the University of Georgia team in Athens for the final competition were teams from Auburn University, the University of California, Berkeley, Duke University, the University of Florida, Kennesaw State University, Miami University (Ohio), the University of Michigan, New York University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin.

“W&L has now won this competition twice in a row, and we’ve done so against other prestigious schools like those in the Ivy League,” Schleider said. “It shows that W&L is a school that punches above its weight and prepares interested students well for a career in finance.”

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