A team of undergraduates at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) won the Southwest Regionals of the CFA Institute Research Challenge this spring, beating out 20 teams from leading business schools in Texas and Louisiana. This is the first time that a UTSA team has won this competition.
Team members were Eduardo Gallegos, a senior finance major; Colin Johnson, a junior mathematics major; Sergio Terrazas, ’21, a December finance graduate; William Resendez, a senior finance major; and Bond Wickwire, ’21, a December finance graduate.
The global equity research competition provides students with mentoring and real-world experience in financial analysis. The teams conducted an in-depth analysis on a designated publicly-traded company; received mentoring from a faculty advisor and industry mentor; prepared a written report on that company that included a buy, sell or hold recommendation; and presented and defended their findings to a panel of industry experts. Winners were selected based on the thoroughness of the analysis and company knowledge.
“This team was chosen based on their classroom performance as well as their participation in the Investment Society,” said Ron Sweet, MBA ’91, associate professor of practice in finance in the Carlos Alvarez College of Business and advisor to the Investment Society. “I knew they were all strong writers and presenters, and they would work well together.”
Putting in over 200 hours to complete the challenge, the group began working on the project over the holiday break and continued their analysis this spring. “The week before our presentation we worked every night to perfect it,” said Gallegos, who conducted industry research on their environmental company.
“We knew it was going to be challenging, but this is what you do in the real world, and we knew we’d make a great team,” said Terrazas, who is a financial analyst with Dell.
The first round of the competition required a 10-page paper. The second round included a 10-minute presentation, and for the final round the team submitted a recorded presentation. “We wanted to tell a story and make our case simple and clear,” said Wickwire, who is a financial analyst at Buckle.
“As a rising college and new Tier One University, our win helps put UTSA on the map,” said Resendez, who will intern with Victory Capital this summer. “I was able to apply what I’ve learned in my business classes to the report.”
In addition to the experiential learning opportunity, the competition also gave students exposure to finance executives through the CFA. The team was mentored by Ryan Griffin from Southern Wealth Management. “It was a great networking opportunity,” said Johnson, a member of the Honors College. “It signals to employers that you can work as a team.”
“UTSA students have excelled in this competition because they’ve gained experience with this type of analysis as part of my Security Analysis class as well as through their participation in the college’s Investment Society,” said Sweet, who was the faculty mentor to the team. “Knowing a process and having practiced going through it multiple times with actual company data allows our students to jump into a project like this with great confidence.”
“It was awesome to see the power of five undergraduate coming together to accomplish a goal,” said Wickwire. “And, even better, we remained friends through it all.”