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Neuberger Berman ESG Investing Challenge

The 2020 theme is addressing COVID-19 challenges and
offers a prize pool of $10,000
Neuberger Berman will donate an additional $10,000 to a 501c3 organization of the winning teams’ choosing. 501c3 must contribute to or be in line with the 2020 theme. Signups for the 2020 Neuberger Berman ESG Challenge have now closed!
We are proud to announce the winning team of the 2020 ESG Investing Challenge, Team Teladoc.

Songqing Jiang, Nick DiGeronimo, Levente Merczel and Bill Ledley
Winning Team 
Neuberger Berman is proud to announce the 2020 Neuberger Berman ESG Investing Challenge in conjunction with Columbia Business School, NYU Stern and Kellogg Northwestern.
Neuberger berman logo

Neuberger Berman

Founded in 1939, Neuberger Berman is a private, 100% independent, employee-owned investment manager. From offices in 34 cities worldwide, the firm manages a range of strategies, including equity, fixed income, quantitative and multi-asset class, private equity and hedge funds on behalf of institutions, advisors and individual investors globally. With more than 600 investment professionals and over 2,000 employees in total, Neuberger Berman has built a diverse team of individuals united in their commitment to delivering compelling investment results for our clients over the long term. That commitment includes active consideration of environmental, social and governance factors. As an active manager, Neuberger Berman has a long-standing belief that material environmental, social and governance factors are an important driver of long-term investment returns from both an opportunity and a risk mitigation perspective. We also understand that for many of our clients the impact of their portfolio is an important consideration in conjunction with investment performance.

ESG Investing at Neuberger Berman 

Neuberger Berman’s 2019 ESG Annual Report 


Columbia Business School logo

Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School’s Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing—a dynamic resource for students and practitioners to learn about value investing through world-class education and research, bridging theory and practice—and Tamer Center for Social Enterprise—which educates leaders to use business knowledge, entrepreneurial skills, and management tools to address social and environmental challenges—are proud to work in conjunction with Neuberger Berman to launch this challenge.


NYU Stern logo

NYU Stern

The New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business is proud to partner with Neuberger Berman on the ESG Investing Challenge. NYU Stern MBA students are prepared to build a better world through better business, engaging with the Center for Sustainable Business—which prepares future and current leaders to embed social and environmental sustainability into core business strategy through education, research and engagement—as well as gaining hands-on experience managing funds using ESG strategies through the Michael Price Student Investment Fund.


Kellogg logo

Kellogg Northwestern

Social Impact at Kellogg aims to inspire and equip business leaders to create positive, significant and sustainable impact in the world. Intellectually rigorous yet real-world relevant, our Social Impact programming is designed to expand students’ awareness about the pivotal role that management and markets plays in society while our culture and community enable personal and professional growth.

Kellogg’s record of leadership in the field of impact finance includes founding the world’s longest-running sustainable finance competition, the Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, hosting the world’s largest faculty-membership organization, the Impact and Sustainable Finance Faculty Consortium, and administering the premier global prize for research in responsible investing, the Moskowitz Prize.

The Challenge
2020’s Theme is COVID-19
Students will work with mentors to identify publicly listed equity investments whose business objectives are aligned with the ESG theme and are expected to generate positive financial performance (as a dual objective). After an initial round of eliminations, finalists will present virtually to a panel of Neuberger Berman judges who will select the winning team(s), which will receive a financial prize from Neuberger Berman.
Sign Up
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Key Dates
September 22, 2020

Virtual Kick-Off
October 7, 2020

Deadline to Submit Teams
October 21, 2020

Mid-Challenge Check-In
October 30, 2020

Submissions Due
November 6, 2020

Finalists Announced
November 18, 2020

Virtual Final Judging Panel
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Why Participate?

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is a rapidly growing space with ~$40 trillion in AUM1, and ESG considerations are increasingly becoming central considerations in investment processes, especially amid the global pandemic.

Through the NB ESG Investing Challenge, students will study an ESG theme and learn how to incorporate ESG considerations into their investment processes. Neuberger Berman also views the Challenge as an avenue through which exceptional candidates can be identified for internship and full-time positions.

“Our ESG philosophy, which is really something that is owned and believed in by the individual investment professionals that work here at Neuberger, is a belief that ESG factors can be material to investment performance over the medium to long term from both a risk and an opportunity perspective.”

~ Jonathan Bailey, Head of ESG Investing

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2020 Theme

ESG Investment Theme: Addressing COVID-19 Challenges

Many companies are stepping up to help address social challenges arising as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and are focusing on a range of what we consider to be key issues. Human capital management, supply chain resilience, consumer welfare and community involvement, among others, which have historically been fundamental to ESG efforts, are now taking center stage.

We believe how companies behave and respond during this crisis will have long-term implications for employee and community relationships, a key potential differentiator in the months and even years to come.

How should companies behave and respond to address societal challenges that have emerged due to the pandemic?

Prevention and Treatment
Prevention and Treatment
Companies supporting or contributing to widespread COVID-19 testing, a vaccine and/or cure, reallocation of resources to personal protective equipment (PPE) production, and other critical medical supplies.
Work or Education from Home Enablement
Work or Education from Home Enablement
Companies innovating and supporting a digital economy through video conferencing capabilities, including internet providers.
Response and Care for Customers and Employees
Response and Care for Customers and Employees
Companies that are acutely focused on the health and well-being of their customers and employees, for example, temporarily raising pay for supply chain associates and warehouse workers who have been vital to serving individuals and communities, implementing extended or unlimited sick leave and work-from-home flexibility.
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Prize Pool

$10,000 to be split between teams at the judges’ discretion. Judges may award prizes to multiple teams. Neuberger Berman will donate an additional $10,000 to a 501c3 organization of the teams’ choosing.

Investment Universe

Investment ideas must be a public equity (long only) with a market cap of $1 billion or greater. Investments can be global.

Eligibility and Team Composition

Graduate students at Columbia University, NYU Stern and Kellogg Northwestern are invited to participate. Teams must consist of two to four members, all of whom must be MBA students at Columbia Business School, NYU Stern or Kellogg Northwestern. The team must appoint a team captain responsible for team organization and communications with competition organizer, mentors and judges. At least 50% of the team must be full-time MBA students, and the other 50% can be part-time MBA students.


Each team is required to submit a maximum five-page investment pitch with up to five additional pages for appendix and supporting tables (10 pages total). In addition, each team must complete a mandatory mid-competition check-in (mid-October) with their assigned mentor, to be scheduled at their discretion. All ideas must be presented using original content.

  • 2020 theme: This year’s theme is addressing COVID-19 challenges. Examples of investments may be companies that are actively addressing social challenges arising as a result of the pandemic.
  • Financial Objective: Investments must provide compelling financial upside.

Required Elements

  • Investment thesis, price target, including expected total return, relevant timeframe and valuation methodology
  • Alignment with the Income Inequality theme. Identification of key metrics for measuring company’s success within the theme, any relevant engagement objectives with the company, and broader ESG considerations
  • Financial statements and forecasts
  • Assumptions and risk factors

Finals Presentation

Finalists will be notified by November 7, 2020. Finalists must prepare a presentation for the judges that effectively communicates the investment and its satisfaction of the dual objective criteria. The presentation will be followed by Q&A from the judges.

All decisions made by Neuberger Berman and the judges are final. Any issues not specifically covered here will be at the discretion of Neuberger Berman.

ESG Objective 30%

  • Does the investment meet the criteria for income inequality and is the argument well articulated?
  • Is the investment impactful and with scope?
  • Is there a discussion of broader ESG considerations?
  • Are the key performance indicators identified?

Financial Objective 30%

  • Does the investment have compelling financial upside?
  • Is there an alignment of financial performance with success addressing income inequality?

Quality of Analysis 30%

  • How thorough and deep is the analysis?
  • Are forecasts/projections and assumptions rooted in strong financial logic?
  • Have the requirements been met and are key questions answered?

Quality of Presentation 10%

  • Is the submission clear and compelling?
  • For finalists: Is the presentation polished and compelling, and have all team members participated substantially?
Neuberger Berman believes ESG factors can be material to investment performance over the medium to long term from both a risk and opportunity perspective.

Joe Amato

Joseph V. Amato

President of Neuberger Berman Group LLC and Chief Investment Officer of Equities

Ingrid Dyott

Ingrid Dyott*

Co-Portfolio Manager of Core Equity and Sustainable Equity Strategies

Jonathan Bailey

Jonathan Bailey

Head of ESG Investing


Timothy Creedon

Timothy Creedon

Director of Global Equity Research

Dan Flax

Dan Flax*

Senior Research Analyst, Technology, Media and Telecom Group

McCoy Jen

McCoy Jen*

Research Analyst, International Equity Group

Manisha Kathuria

Manisha Kathuria*

Portfolio Specialist, Core Equity and Sustainable Equity Strategies

Jared Mann

Jared Mann*

Senior Research Analyst, Industrials and Materials Group

Robert Moffatt

Robert Moffatt

Senior Vice President, Core Equity and Sustainable Equity Strategies

Jennifer Signori

Jennifer Signori

Senior Vice President, ESG and Impact Investing

Caitlin McSherry

Caitlin McSherry

Director of Investment Stewardship, ESG Investing

Hank Elder

Hank Elder

Senior Associate, ESG and Impact Investing

Ari Singh

Ari Singh**

Senior Research Analyst, Health Care Services

Jenna Elson

Jenna Elson**

Vice President, Team Kaminsky

Evelyn Chow

Evelyn Chow

Vice President, Equity Research

*Columbia Business School Alumni

**NYU Stern Alumni

We are proud to announce the winning team of the 2019 ESG Investing Challenge, Team ETSY.
Kyle Campbell, Mingming Wu and K.Y. Wong
Learn More About the 2019 Challenge
ESG Challenge Winning Team