Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stock Picking: March Money Madness

Consortium alum Rob Wilson has a different take on the approaching excitement and hoopla of March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament that starts next week. He knows well that in the days to come thousands across the country will agonize while filling out brackets to participate in pools to try to pick this year's college-basketball champion.
He knows, too, how much time people, even those with litte interest during the season, will spend determining early-round winners, projecting who will advance to the Final Four, and guessing who will win the championship game April 5 in San Antonio. And he's mindful of how much office time is wasted, as pool participants will scramble to try to make informed picks and will sneak peaks at lunchtime to follow the early rounds.
However, Rob this year suggests another way to follow the fury, especially for MBA students and finance professionals. Why not channel some of that energy and excitement into picking stocks? Go ahead, dive into the madness, do cursory homework on teams and try to choose who may advance to the "Sweet Sixteen." But try something else this year, too: do research, rely on analysis, hunch and wisdom and pick the stocks that will generate the greatest returns during the tournament, starting March 15.
Hence, Rob has created this year a stock-picking contest that runs throughout the basketball tournament. Just like the tournament, in his contest, you choose stocks, fill out brackets, participate in a pool, and earn a prize if you win it all. He has organized the "March Money Madness Bracket Challenge."
You can compete individually or as part of a group. Or you and your group can compete against other groups--just like the myriad of pools and competitions that run alongside the college-basketball tournament.
In his contest, you pick stocks each week (using your own investment tools, research or models). The stocks in various brackets that return the highest in that week win that round and advance. Finance types will know to be competitive in this tournament, you'll need to have a traders' short-term view of the market, not Warren Buffet's long-term, value-investing view.
The "regions" in his contest are designated by industries: financial, technology, consumer, and industrial.
Rob, a 2005 Consortium MBA graduate of Carnegie-Mellon (Tepper), said he created his own version of the tournament "to use sports to educate people about investing." He said he thought it a worthwhile idea to start a contest where participants can "actually learn something" along the way.
Rob is professionally involved in investment management and has a specialty in managing the financial activities for professional athletes and entertainers.
If you are interested in learning more about his contest and want to participate, see or . Contact Rob directly at First prize is an iPad. We'll report winners (and winning stocks) here when the contest is done. It all starts March 15.
Tracy Williams

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