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Finance Students Place First in CFA Global Research Competition

cfa_champsThe key to being a great financial analyst instead of just a good one might just be as simple as attending the right university.  A team of finance students from the UTSA College of Business proved that theory by placing first in the CFA Institute Research Challenge, a global competition which tests financial analytical skills of business students from throughout the world.

The UTSA team will advance to the regional in April in New York, where they will compete against 50 teams from North and South America.

Team members were Tiby Erdely, a senior majoring in finance; Thibaut Guidet, a finance alumnus who completed his undergraduate degree in December; and Neal Orsburn, a senior majoring in accounting and finance.

“We proved that UTSA finance students are top tier,” said Guidet.  “We can not only compete with some of the best business programs in Texas, but we can beat them.  “Our finance education gave us the tools we needed to succeed.”

In addition to their academic preparation, the students also credit their participation in the college’s Investment Society, a student organization dedicated to learning about and applying finance.

“Our student’s success is a direct result of the top-notch teaching by our faculty combined with the applied learning experiences our students receive through the college’s Financial Studies Center,” said Ron Sweet, UTSA finance faculty member and advisor to the Investment Society. “UTSA has created a learning atmosphere that is unmatched by other schools.”

The UTSA team beat out 19 competitors from the Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma region including teams from Loyola, Rice, Southern Methodist University, Texas Tech and Tulane. This was UTSA’s third year participating in the competition and their first win.

As part of the competition the team had to prepare a company valuation of Gamestop, that included producing a written report and presenting their findings during an oral presentation. The competition is designed to promote best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts. More than 3,000 students from 600 universities in nearly 50 countries participated in this year’s competition.

“We saw an opportunity to do something great and seized that chance,” said Erdely, who has accepted a job with Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City.  “I think what made us stand out was our strong quantitative research, backed up by qualitative data about the company.  Professor Sweet encouraged us to know the quantitative data, but to tell a story with our presentation.”

In preparing for the competition, the students sought counsel from past UTSA teams and were able to meet with key leaders from within Gamestop to build their case.  They also utilized the college’s Financial Studies Center to build the financial models used in the report and credit Orsburn’s knowledge of the gaming industry.

“This has been a tremendous opportunity for us,” said Orsburn.  “We are looking forward to going to New York City and competing against students from throughout the world.”

More importantly, the students credit their success to the passion of their mentor Ron Sweet.  “We all love finance, but we’ve never met a person more passionate about his students or finance than Professor Sweet,” said Erdely.  “He even offered to pull an all nighter with us to help us succeed.”

Wendy Frost—

Please send your comments to: wendy.frost@utsa.edu