Landing a job at a hedge fund is no easy task. Just getting an interview typically requires attending a top university and completing several prestigious internships. For those lacking one or both, there is an alternative option – one that can literally guarantee you a seat in front of a hiring manager at a hedge fund. You’ll just need to out-argue the masses while proving that you’re a stock market junkie.
Several fintech companies have partnered together to launch the Stocks Debate Challenge, an online video-based competition that will reward the three top performers with a job interview at New York hedge fund Apex Capital Holdings. The idea behind the challenge is to try to develop new pipelines for talent that may be hiding in the weeds at lesser-known universities.
“Even if a particular student at the University of Missouri is as good as the best investor at Harvard, there is simply no way they would have access to the same opportunities,” said Alexey Loganchuk, founder of program co-sponsor Upgrade Capital, which partners with financial firms to screen and develop traders. “This disparity reflects massive inefficiency in the way the industry currently looks for talent.”
The format is rather simple. Contestants are divided into two groups. Those in the first group put together a one-minute video where they pitch a long or short investment idea that will be posted on Micgoat, an app developed by co-sponsor Thinknum that lets users debate various issues. People in the second group will then choose their adversary and counter with a one-minute response that takes the opposing position. Each pairing will debate back-and-forth several times before the full videos are posted. The judge for the first round is the general public, along with three experts. The 24 people with the most number of upvotes move on.
Round two is a little more formal. The jury is made up of three seasoned investment pros: Sahm Adrangi, founder of Kerrisdale Capital Management; Keith Weissman, director of research at Sibilla Capital Management; and Peter M. Lupoff, managing member of Lupoff Friends and Family Interests, an impact investment firm. They’ll pair off the remaining 24 contestants, provide the topics and ultimately decide which three earn the interviews.
Winners will be interviewing for analyst positions, but the actual roles will be further defined by Apex Capital, according to Micgoat CEO Marta Lopata. Candidates will be judged by the technical skills they show off, their overall market knowledge and their ability to verbalize their message, she said. Micgoat, of course, will likely count as another winner. The competition will surely generate loads of new app users, especially during round one when applicants are scrounging for upvotes.
This is the group’s first competition, so there’s no precedent to suggest whether any of the interviews will result in job offers. We'll have to wait and see. Lopata said they’re planning to offer additional competitions in the fall. Registration closes on Sunday, June 24th, and the competition begins just a day later, so you better already know how to read a financial statement and get camera-ready ASAP.
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