Marist Students Compete Against Teams from Across the Americas in the CFA Institute Research Challenge
April 2, 2018 — Five members of the Class of 2018 proudly represented the College in the highly prestigious CFA Institute Research Challenge in Boston on March 20, competing against a field of 250 students from across the U.S., Canada, and Latin America for the title of 2018 Americas Regional Champion. The students earned this opportunity by winning the 2018 New York Region CFA Institute Research Challenge on March 2, besting 22 other colleges from the Tri-State area. The Marist team was made up of finance majors Jon Blake of Ballston Spa, New York; Steve Morrison of Poughquag, New York; Maura Sullivan of Tappan, New York; Dietrich Mosel of Manhasset, New York; and Cory Lang of North Andover, Massachusetts. “It was a lot of work, but even more reward,” Blake said. “We’re proud to have advanced past the New York round to face international competition in Boston.”
The students spent hundreds of hours preparing for the two competitions under the guidance of Associate Professor of Finance and Director of the Investment Center Brian Haughey, CFA, FRM, CAIA. For both the New York Region and Americas competitions, the teams prepared written research reports and oral presentations on Domino’s Pizza. By reaching the Americas finals, the Marist students made it further than any previous team from the College. Last year’s team – comprised of 2017 graduates John Giuffre, Nicholas Arnold, Michael Mataras, Samantha Leenas, and Rhianna Ross – was the first group of Marist students to present, and they paved the way by reaching the New York Region finals. This year, the 2017 team members provided key advice, support, and encouragement to Blake, Morrison, Sullivan, Mosel, and Lang. According to Professor Haughey, “The caliber of the competition in Boston was very high, including a number of teams comprised of graduate students. The CFA Research Challenge is a highly respected competition, and our students’ performance reflected extremely well on Marist.”
The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a global competition that tests the equity research and valuation, investment report writing, and presentation skills of university students. Through the course of the competition, participants also receive mentoring from a professional research analyst (in this case, Matt Epstein, CFA, a Senior Research Analyst at Evermore Global Advisors, LLC) as they analyze a publicly traded company, write a professional research report, and present their research results and recommendations to a high-profile panel of experts. Over the past 12 years, the CFA Institute Research Challenge has seen a steady increase in participation globally, from 91 participants in 2006 to more than 5,700 this year.
By participating in the CFA Institute Research Challenge, the students gained valuable experience that will help prepare them for careers in finance. Noted Lang, “This project really highlighted the benefits for students in all disciplines to participate in extra research or competitions outside of class.” He added, “The CFA Research Challenge gave our group the chance to apply what we had learned in the classroom setting to a real-world problem, and I feel like that is exponentially more valuable when it comes to preparing for the workplace.” Mosel concurred, saying that “one of the most useful things I learned was how to manage a large amount of information and cut it down to the most relevant parts. In terms of presenting, I worked on articulating certain points and learned that personality and tone are key to getting information across in an effective manner.”
Beginning last October, as the teams developed their equity research and analysis, the CFA Society New York (CFANY) provided them with educational seminars on best practices for writing an equity research report, how to use the internet for research, and how to make a presentation to a panel of judges. The students also had the opportunity to complete a CFA Institute-produced online course on ethical guidelines for finance professionals. Looking back on the experience, Morrison reflected, “We started off not really knowing each other well, but through countless hours of research, meetings, and presentations, I think we built a close bond that will last beyond the competition and graduation!”
Located on the banks of the historic Hudson River and at its Florence, Italy campus, Marist College is a comprehensive, independent institution grounded in the liberal arts. Its mission is to “help students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.” Marist is consistently recognized for excellence by The Princeton Review (Colleges That Create Futures and The Best 381 Colleges), U.S. News & World Report (9th Best Regional University/North), Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (“Best College Values”), and others. Though now independent, Marist remains committed to the ideals handed down from its founders, the Marist Brothers: excellence in education, a sense of community, and a commitment to service. Marist educates approximately 5,000 traditional-age undergraduate students and 1,400 adult and graduate students in 47 undergraduate majors and 15 graduate programs, including fully online MBA, MPA, MS, and MA degrees. www.marist.edu