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Starboard Value Wharton Activist Stock Pitch Competition 2020

October 24, 2020

Saturday, October 24 | 12:00 AM - Wednesday, November 4 | 11:59 PM EDT

PDF version of the details and submission criteria


  • Eligibility: 1st Year MBA students and Undergraduate Sophomores or Juniors. Teams of up to 2 may be formed.
  • Deliverables: Participants should create a PowerPoint presentation with fewer than 20 slides outlining an actionable investment idea that meets Starboard Value’s investment criteria below. PDF presentations should be submitted to Bilge Yilmaz at yilmaz@wharton.upenn.edu and Susan Sandoval at ssandoval@starboardvalue.com between October 24th and November 4th 2020.
  • Pitches: Finalists will have the opportunity to present their idea to Starboard Value investment professionals, including Starboard’s CEO Jeff Smith, and to receive substantive feedback on their pitch.

Winning Idea

  • The winning pitch will be chosen at the sole discretion of Starboard Value based on, but not limited to, the fit with our investment criteria and the attractiveness of the potential investment.
  • The winner of the competition will be eligible for a summer 2020 internship with Starboard Value. Should Starboard Value elect to invest in the winning idea at any time in the six months following the competition, 10% of the profits on a hypothetical $10 million investment in the stock will be donated to The Wharton School.
  • The winning submission will receive a cash price of $5,000 per person.

Investment Criteria

  • An actionable idea consists of an activist investment in a publicly traded U.S. company in any industry with a market capitalization between $1 billion and $15 billion.
  • Opportunities must meet Starboard Value’s Value, Plan, Path criteria:
    • Value: Underperforming companies with good core assets that are being mismanaged, trading at a deep discount to intrinsic value due to transitory, rather than structural, factors. Typical indicators of mismanagement include compressed margins relative to peers, depressed cash flows, failed growth initiatives, misguided acquisitions, poor capital allocation decisions, non-core assets, locked value relative to the sum of the parts, etc.
    • Plan: Clear and actionable strategy to create value for all shareholders by improving earnings and cash flows, with a focus on operational enhancements, governance improvements, returning capital to shareholders, monetizing non-core assets, unlocking hidden sum of the parts value, etc.
    • Path: Solid path for Starboard Value to influence change in situations with shareholder bases that are ready for our involvement or, if necessary, to mount an election contest with the goal of re-constituting the Board of Directors and ensuring that an improved Plan is implemented.



  • Date: Saturday, October 24 - Wednesday, November 4
  • EDT

Event Organizer

  • Starboard Value