To sell or not to sell: The Rocky Mountain Investment Challenge

Will Henshaw presents alongside his team
Will Henshaw, a College of Business senior, presents alongside his team during the Rocky Mountain Investment Challenge.

Decisions, decisions

Buy, sell, or hold? These are the choices that move markets and keep stock analysts up at night.

Recently, students from CSU and schools across the region, from Wyoming to Durango, were given the chance to put their real-world finance skills to the test at the second Rocky Mountain Investment Challenge.

The undergraduates were tasked with analyzing publicly traded securities to see whether a particular company made for a good investment opportunity, and then they had to convince a panel of independent analysts and investment fund managers why they were right in under 15 minutes.

Frank Smith, clinical professor and director of graduate programs for the College of Business, talks with Rocky Mountain Investment Challenge competitors at Colorado State University.

Frank Smith, director of graduate programs for the college and a clinical professor, helped organize the event with Hilla Skiba, an assistant professor in the Department of Finance and Real Estate, offering over $3,500 in prize money.

“The day was amazing,” said Smith. “The students were very excited about the level of competition.”

CSU teams took home first and third place in the event, with judges deliberating for nearly an hour before picking the winning teams.

Will Henshaw was part of the winning group along with fellow College of Business seniors Evan Baker and Jake Detwiler.

Henshaw had volunteered to help with the previous challenge, so “it was fun to come back and compete in it this year using what I learned from watching last year’s presentations,” he said.

“I’m concentrating in investment analysis, so all the research and valuations we did for the competition tie in perfectly with my coursework and what I will potentially do in the real world once I graduate.”

One of the highlights for Henshaw, who will be graduating in May, was the opportunity to network with the judges over lunch and receive personal feedback on the team’s presentation.

Skiba said students are expected to know the businesses they present on inside and out, and be able to tell a story of why it might be a sound investment.

“CSU students work hard in the classroom, but the effort they bring to the competitive setting is above and beyond of what I have seen before,” said Skiba. “The teams must have put 100+ hours into this, and it showed.”

“Our CSU students, pardon my partiality here, brought it compared to all the other universities, and I could not have been prouder of the level of preparation, professionalism and rigor… I see nothing but bright futures for the students.”

Student teams