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The McGill International Portfolio Challenge (MIPC)

Written by: Shreya Patel
Originally published at: A Few Good Minds Blog

The McGill International Portfolio Challenge (MIPC) is the world’s premier buy-side finance competition. It gives a platform to students with an interest in Investment Management to apply portfolio management knowledge to solve a challenging real-world case.

This year’s challenge involved solving long-term environmental sustainability problems for a fictional pensioner plan manager called NLPIB. The hypothetical company was based in Newfoundland and had a huge investment in Oil & gas assets. Their portfolio had direct investments as well as indirect (passive) investments. We were working to solve the issue centred around divestment from fossil fuels and management of the return. There was further level of complexities with respect to returns, direct assets and stakeholder management. The company has a dual mandate which involved meeting a target return as well as investing to benefit the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The ultimate goal was to devise a long-term strategic asset allocation plan to accommodate the different stakeholders involved and addressing climate risks while meeting the dual mandate for the company.

The 2019 MIPC team representing SFU Beedie: Shreya, Saksham, Priya, and Khashayar.

The first round involved submitting a written report. We had around a month to work on the report. We then cleared the first round and were one of the top 25 teams and second-round involved flying to Montreal and presenting our solution to the industry’s leading professionals. We met professionals from CPPIB, CDPQ, OTPP, Blackrock, PSP, Validus, Fiera Capital and many more.

The first night we began our MIPC journey by participating in Speed Networking with the above-mentioned companies. After the speed networking, we listened to a panel discussion given by two professionals – Josée Guibord, CEO at Evolugen by Brookfield Renewable and Patrick Odier, Senior Managing Partner at Lombard Odier Group. Their discussion revolved around investors’ commitment towards a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future. The next day, we were fretting over our presentations and were quite relieved after a good presentation with interesting Q&As. After lunch, the results were announced for the top 5 teams and then we listened to some of the innovative ideas presented by other teams. Finally, the day ended with closing dinner, award ceremony and a keynote speech by Jean Charest, 29th Premier of Quebec from 2003 to 2012 and leader in environmental sustainability in Quebec. It was a perfect end to our journey in MIPC and the connections made during our time were very valuable.

It was a wonderful experience and even though we didn’t win, we had an amazing opportunity to network with professionals from various firms, and SFU Beedie MIPC team member Shreya Patel was presented with the “Best Speaker Award”! We are grateful to SFU Beedie for providing us with the opportunity to participate in one of the largest buy-side university finance competitions. We put our heads together to work on a challenging and demanding problem, which is quite relevant in today’s scenario. We highly recommend students to participate in this finance case competition – it was an honour to represent SFU Beedie amongst a pool of highly ranked universities from around the world.

Shreya Patel is an SFU Beedie MSc Finance candidate (2018 cohort) who recently completed her academic program requirements. During her MSc Finance program, Shreya participated in the Student Investment Advisory Service (SIAS) team where she held the role of Canadian Equity Analyst. You can connect with Shreya via Linkedin.