Fresh Pitch

Bauer Students Become First Freshmen to Win at Investment Pitch Competition

Four undergraduate finance students from the Bayou Capital Group (BCG) at the C. T. Bauer College of Business became the first team in school history to win the freshmen finals rounds at the annual Dartmouth Investment and Philanthropy Program Stock Pitch Competition. 

Students Aaron Harrington, Nandini Aggarwal, Arellys Tapia and Jando Granillo competed with over 150 teams from around the globe who submitted their pitches. The group was chosen as one of the final five freshmen-only groups to move onto the final round. Each of the five teams presented their pitch over Zoom for judges while audience members tuned in for the finals. 

“We saw the sponsors who were going to be there and knew that we had the opportunity to show the talent produced at UH," Harrington said. “Having the opportunity to showcase both what UH could do and the talent within the college really motivated us to make sure our product was at the highest level.” 

All four students met through their involvement with Bayou Capital Group (BCG) at Bauer College, an organization focused on teaching students about investment and banking. The team learned about the competition through their organization and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity as freshmen. 

“We were intrigued by the competition because of its exposure for freshmen,” Granillo said. “It’s pretty uncommon for freshmen to participate in these kinds of competitions. To be able to get this kind of exposure with prestigious companies and an Ivy League school like Dartmouth was an amazing opportunity.” 

The annual competition focuses on the skill set of investing and pitching an acquisition plan that would benefit the two companies. The team’s thesis centered around Pfizer acquiring the biotechnology company Vaxcyte with the foundation focusing on the success of the Prevnar vaccine and Pfizer’s goal of being top drug company. 

“Something I like to say is that building a pitch is like creating a story,” Aggarwal said. “We found our storyline from the research we did and got started from there.” 

The four prepared for the competition by practicing their pitch daily, having fellow organization members sit in on some practices to try and throw them off with questions. The group even went outside their circle to gain expert knowledge on the topic from members of the University of Missouri who looked over their pitch to give pointers. 

Throughout the entire journey of the competition process, the team pushed the idea of a strong support system, Tapia said. Daily facetimes, LinkedIn posts and constant affirmation played a large role in their success. 

“I like to say that this is an ‘and’ world and not an ‘or’ world,” Granillo said. “Even if someone else’s goals align with yours and you are competing, it is always good to help each other because if you are collaborating with one another during the process, you are going to be more successful.” 

With the competition win, the team has their sights set on their next pitch competition taking place at the University of Texas at Austin as the first freshmen group for their organization to represent BCG.