Beyond the sluggish economy and tight job market, one of the biggest challenges graduating college students face is finding something substantial to put on their slender resumes. This experience deficit has become increasingly problematic for business school grads, given the record number of MBA degree holders being pumped into the system each year and the reduced opportunities that exist.
But there may be hope, at least for the financially minded, thanks to the first-ever All-America Student Analyst Competition --a real-world, risk-adjusted contest that measures students' stock picking and portfolio management prowess over a four-month period.
"There are a lot of stock picking competitions that go on, but generally the winner is the person that has the best luck or puts all their money into a penny stock that goes up 4000%," says John Power, CEO of Mark My Media, the Connecticut-based firm that oversaw the trading tournament in conjunction with Institutional Investor.
As Power explains in the attached video, six different performance factors where used to add an element of professionalism and sophistication that's not normally found in these types of contests. It's a component he says is critical because it shows that students are not only "able to pick stocks, but to manage portfolios in an effective way."
"If I were to pick one thing that I noticed, it's that talent exists everywhere," Power says, and not just in the top-rated schools where you would expect to find tomorrow's superstar hedge fund managers.
All totaled, some 700 students from 34 different schools took part in the contest; an event, Power says, offers everyone the ''ability to build and verify their credentials and interactions with capital markets."
Ultimately, it boils down to time, money and jobs, since he says the price of hiring the wrong person can prove to be very costly.
"The cost of making a (recruiting) mistake is very expensive," he says, noting that the All American Student Analyst Competition "helps makes sure the right person is identified for the right seat."