To crown three months of hard work, on Friday, May 14, Grace’s Investment Club placed third in the Investment Challenge NYC. The team competed against eleven other teams from New York City schools including Brooklyn Tech, Dalton, Stuyvesant, and Trinity, winning prizes sponsored by Citadel and Bill Ackman.
The team invested in U.S. stocks using a long/short equity strategy, meaning they could make money from both upturns and downturns in the market. Their holdings included Charter Communications (CHTR), the telecom company which owns Spectrum, TransDigm (TDG), an aerospace part manufacturer with dominant market share, Pinduoduo (PDD), a fast-growing Chinese e-commerce company, and Orchard Therapeutics (ORTX), a pharma company focused on rare diseases. The team also traded actively, taking advantage of minor dislocations in the market.
My goal in founding the challenge was to provide ambitious students with a platform to apply the knowledge they accumulated through their respective investment clubs and to encourage a deeper understanding of the markets. The challenge spanned three months and the teams were ranked simply by returns. Ty Katz ‘22 said that he enjoyed the experience and the ability to “meet all these professionals and to learn from them and apply that knowledge.” For one student from another school, the “interest that the challenge sparked” in him even motivated him to “go out and look for opportunities relating to investing,” resulting in a summer internship at a hedge fund.
In addition to the hands-on investing experience, all participants in the challenge attended a Zoom presentation by executives of the leading hedge fund Citadel. Grace—having placed in the top three teams—also had the opportunity to attend an interview with Bill Ackman, the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management.
Aulden Borthwick ‘23 wrote that, not only because of the challenge but throughout his time in the Investment Club, he has realized that it’s never “too early to start investing,” and that “making mistakes early on, and reflecting productively rather than scornfully, is what forms a knowledgeable and composed investor.” Overall, all of the challenge participants from the twelve schools benefited from building their investing and teamwork skills and from listening to industry professionals.
I started this initiative for one very simple reason: every high school student should not only have the opportunity to learn about finance and economics, they should have the desire to do so—to learn the practical skills necessary for every adult, no matter if their interests lie in cooking, painting, or teaching. Economics is not just for Wall Street fat cats. It drives the world. You may ask yourself why you’re paying so much for your bubble tea, or why your cousin lost all his money in Bitcoin, or why Grace’s tuition is one of the highest in the city (and keeps rising), or why educational, racial, and socioeconomic disparities move in tandem. The world of economics—which is, in other words, simply the world—has your answer. You just need to go out and find it.