How Alejandro Vergara Set Himself Up for Success at The MIPC

Every year, hundreds of students from around the globe participate in the McGill International Portfolio Challenge, hoping to impress the judges with innovative portfolio strategies and gain access to unique mentorship opportunities. “MIPC Perspectives” is a new project designed to recognize the hard work of uniquely skilled individuals who have previously participated in the challenge. Alejandro Vergara from the Illinois Institute of Technology showed his tremendous talent during the 5th edition of the MIPC by winning the “best speaker” award and the “best quantitative analysis” alongside his team.

For Context: The MIPC’s Fifth Edition – Ultra-Low Yields

The fifth edition of the MIPC revolved around the ultra-low yield and high equity valuation environment that the world economy found itself in amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were tasked with designing sustainable investment strategies that delivered adequate returns without taking on excessive risk. 

Alejandro Vergara – Background 

Alejandro grew up in Spain and attended the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), studying industrial engineering. He then moved to the United States to pursue a Master’s in Finance at the Illinois Institute of Technology. After graduating, he joined Calamos Investments as an Associate Data Scientist

His MIPC Journey

What attracted Alejandro to the MIPC was his competitive personality. He was keen on demonstrating his capabilities to the strong panel of industry experts that the challenge provides, all whilst having fun in the process. Before participating in the MIPC, he had never competed in a finance competition before. Therefore, the challenge was a unique opportunity for him. When asked about his favorite aspect of the competition, Alejandro told us how much he loved the broadness of the challenge which enabled him to apply a lot of the knowledge he had accumulated at university to his work – beyond just the technical finance skills. He also appreciated the chance to work on such a large project with his teammates, as it allowed them to get to know each other and feed on each other’s ideas. 

How to refine your analysis

Alejandro urged participants to be as thorough as possible in their analysis, by asking themselves questions such as “what is the problem I want to solve?”, “do we have more than one problem?”, and “who are the stakeholders involved, and do my solutions satisfy them?”. While some participants may get worried about their quantitative analysis, Alejandro admitted that students do not need a “state of the art” analysis to succeed. However, what you should be able to do is demonstrate your understanding of the case to the panel of judges, and you should be able to answer any questions that they may raise about your solution. 

Lessons gained through the challenge

Through his experience at the MIPC, Alejandro learned the importance of storytelling in a business presentation. To quote him, “if you cannot convince your audience and get them excited about your work, it is worthless”.