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All-America Student Analyst Competition

Investing is an art as well as an imperfect science. The intricate juxtaposition of research, timing, incomplete information and John ­Maynard Keynes's "animal spirits" makes it difficult for even the most notable investors to return a profit, especially given the diffuse peaks and troughs of the economy over the past decade.

Surely then college, even graduate, students don't stand a chance. Don't tell that to Daniel McAllister, a 28-year-old MBA candidate at the University of San Diego School of Business ­Administration.

McAllister finishes first overall in the inaugural ­Institutional Investor All-­America Student Analyst Competition. A former intern and financial analyst at Jack in the Box corporate headquarters, McAllister is no burger-flipper. He admits to changing his notions about investing to better suit the competition, which ran from September 10 through January. Though a believer in value investing over technical analysis in the long run, McAllister addressed the short-term nature of the contest by adopting a strategy much more prevalent in investing today — he went algorithmic.

Participating Schools

State School
NY Baruch College/CUNY
NY Canisius College
PA Carnegie Mellon University
NY Cornell University
NY Dowling College
PA Drexel University
PA Duquesne University
CT Fairfield University
FL Florida Atlantic University
FL Florida International University
NY Fordham University
DC George Mason University
PA Lehigh University
CA Loyola Marymount University
NY Mercy College
NY Molloy College
MA Northeastern University
NY New York Institute of Technology
OH Ohio University
PA Pennsylvanie State University, Erie
TX Rice University
CA San Francisco State University
NY St. John's University
FL Stetson University
TX Texas A&M University
OH University of Akron
CA University of California, Berkeley
FL University of Florida
CA University of San Diego
TX University of Texas at Austin
TX University of Texas at Dallas
VA University of Virginia
KS Washburn University
OH Xavier University

Utilizing a very different strategy, University of ­ Virginia undergraduate Matthew Olfat constructed a portfolio that would make famed hedge fund manager and UVA alum Paul Tudor Jones II proud. Olfat, a 19-year-old systems engineering and financial math double major, took a macro approach, using exchange-­traded funds to play the broad market and go in and out of sectors.

The stark differences in background, strategy and execution of these top competitors stand to highlight the ongoing question of just what is the right approach for young people coming out of school into the world of finance and investing. As rapid-fire trading, as opposed to buying and holding, has taken over the professional world, finance students are forced to consider or reconsider what makes them valuable assets as they look to join the workforce.