In March 2020, four of our ESSEC Master in Finance students – Victor BARRE, Jonatan MASSON, François-Alexandre MEDUS, and Matthieu ORO – went to Vancouver, Canada, to take part in the final round of the world’s largest investment banking competition: the National Investment Banking Competition (NIBC).
The National Investment Banking Competition gathers more than 400 teams representing different universities and business schools worldwide. This annual global case study competition gives students the opportunity to work on hypothetical M&A transactions involving real-life companies. Teams are asked to produce high quality deliveries as investment bankers’ information memorandum[TY1] , and to pitch their corporate finance projects to a committee consisting of professional bankers and management teams.
ESSEC APAC – Master in Finance (MIF) team was one of the 60 selected to participate in the final round, hosted in Vancouver, where the Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) is headquartered.
The ESSEC APAC Master in Finance Team at the final round’s opening cocktail
From left to right: Matthieu ORO, François-Alexandre MEDUS, Victor BARRE and Jonatan MASSON
1st Round - Singapore
It all began in October 2019 where the teams were tasked to create a pitch book presentation in line with industry standards.
Our four Master in Finance students had to perform an analysis on the automotive market, a strategic review and a valuation of Volkswagen (VW) Group. The pitch book would also contain a strategic recommendation to VW Group for the future. “I’m extremely excited with the subject. I’m passionate about automotive and Volkswagen is a group with a long and impactful history,” commented Jonatan Masson.
The team conducted research and produced a high-quality information memorandum and an 8-minute video supporting their pitch book outcomes and corporate finance initiatives that VW should undertake.
Having to cope with an intensive MIF program and exams during the month of December, the team faced difficulties finding the time to work on the project.
“The 1st round was a truly amazing experience for me. Working with the team on a tight deadline to produce quality content was a great addition to the program and a good preparation for our internships, as well as an interesting point to develop during interviews,” Matthieu noted.
With the excellent work, they got themselves into the finals.
Last round - Vancouver
Our four students landed in Vancouver few days before the competition. Taking off from Singapore on Friday at 10 am, they travelled through time and landed on the same day at 8 am in North America.
They took the opportunity before the finals to do some sightseeing and skiing. During the journey, they acquainted the locals and took a walk in Stanley Park, which offered a magnificent view of the city’s skyscrapers and the ocean and mountains surrounding it.
The following day, the team of 4 arrived at the 5-star Trump International Hotel. They attended the opening speech and mingled with other competitors, including another team of ESSEC students from the Cergy campus, at the cocktail session.
On Wednesday at 6 am, the team was given 8 hours to study a hypothetical acquisition of the Ford Motor Company by the Volkswagen Group from their hotel room.
An Excel model and a PowerPoint deck were expected to be delivered at the end of the time limit. After the submission, the team was required to pitch and defend their recommendations in a 10-minute pitch in front of a jury. To add to the challenge, they were the first team to present their case.
“The food served during the case study was amazing, but we did not have a minute to lose as the clock was ticking” shared Victor.
Panels and Networking
Unfortunately, the team did not make it to top 3. But the whole experience helped them gain knowledge and insights from investment bankers and industry experts.
They had the chance to learn from Ted McGurk, Head of Investment Banking at TD Securities’ Vancouver office, who shared his experience as advisor in the Newmont – Goldcorp merger, one of the largest deals in the gold mining industry. They also attended a panel discussion that comprised 5 young investment bankers working at bulge brackets such as Goldman Sachs and Lazard in different locations across North America. Besides sharing their work values, they also gave valuable advice on how to attain top positions in investment banking. The team also learnt from corporate executive directors their point of view as investment banks clients – what their expectations, behaviors and preferences were.
Gala Dinner and Final Presentations
The last night ended with a gala dinner and it was time for them to head back to ESSEC to complete their last semester.
“To us, NIBC was more than just an investment banking contest. We learned a lot through the competition during these few months. We took what we have learnt and sharpened our corporate finance skills and delivery. We met professionals and peers and we have never felt more prepared to work and meet professional expectations,” concluded François-Alexandre.
Victor BARRE, Jonatan MASSON, François-Alexandre MEDUS, and Matthieu ORO would like to express their heartfelt thanks to each and every one who gave them support and contributed in making this trip possible.