NDSU students set to compete in financial analysis competition

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Students from NDSU’s College of Business to perform the role of Wall Street analyst this week. A four-member team has advanced to the local finalist round of a global financial analysis and equity research competition.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge requires university students to research, analyze and report on a company as if they are practicing analysts. The NDSU students are set to present their results Thursday, Feb. 25, at 4:30 p.m. at Thrivent Financial in Minneapolis. CFA stands for chartered financial analyst, which is a professional credential offered by the institute.

“This is an educational experience that promotes best practices in equity research where students are able to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world cases,” said Fariz Huseynov, NDSU associate professor of finance and the team’s adviser.

The team consists of Kathryn Eckelman, a senior finance major from Prior Lake, Minnesota; Matthew Gapp, a junior economics major from Langdon, North Dakota; Michael Wulff, a senior finance major from New Brighton, Minnesota; and Matthew Wegner, a senior finance major from Bismarck, North Dakota.

They will compete against three- to five-member teams from University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Bethel University and two teams from University of Minnesota Duluth. All students worked directly with a company in research and preparing a company analysis.

The NDSU team was paired with MTS Systems Corp., an Eden Prairie, Minnesota, company with a global presence. The students met face-to-face with company executives and held an investor analyst briefing. They teamed up with Huseynov and Jason Lima, an industry professional with Disciplined Growth Investors, to go through intensive training in company analysis and presentation skills.

The team wrote a report based on their analysis of the firm, reviewing its industry position, company management and conducting statistical modeling of revenue.

“Our job was to evaluate every minute aspect of the company that we could and try to find out if it was a company that would be worth investing in,” said Wulff.

The teams’ final presentations will be locally evaluated by heads of research, portfolio managers and chief investment officers. Local champions advance to the regional finals held in Chicago.

This is the fifth time NDSU has participated in the competition and this year’s team is ready. “We always have a lot of fun when we are working together and we all want to win this competition,” said Eckelman. “We feed off each other’s energy and that is what makes us great.”

The CFA Minnesota Society, which includes North Dakota and South Dakota, is hosting the local-level competition.


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