The Cal Poly finance team was one of 17 teams to advance to the semifinals in a global competition that tests students’ analytical, valuation, report writing and presentation skills.  

The global competition includes more than 5,000 students from universities in more than 90 countries, according to a university news release. Cal Poly competed against more than 900 schools from North, South and Central America to advance to the semifinals — earning first place in the opening rounds for an analysis of PayPal’s stock outlook. 

“Our team put in over 300 hours of work and it was nice to see the results pay off when we were pronounced the winners of both rounds,” business administration senior Cameron Wong said. 

The team of five students spent five months writing a 10-page report which included information about PayPal’s business model, an industry overview, risks and more before making a recommendation to sell PayPal stock, according to a news release.

Wong said the original process was tricky for the team, who divided the work amongst the five of them.

“Initially, trying to figure out what we were gearing our research towards and most of our efforts towards was one of the hardest parts because it was such a general assignment,” Wong said. 

Once tasks were assigned, the team studied PayPal, its market and revenue drivers, developed a detailed financial model, wrote a comprehensive report and prepared their presentations, the news release said. 

The team met four to five times a week to complete the assignment. Wong said they would work in the Orfalea College of Business building until midnight on some days, and on the day it was due, they pulled an all-nighter.

Ultimately, the project provided practical skills.

“It was one of the most engaging things I have done in college,” Wong said. “It was all-encompassing things we would see in the real world.”