University of Southern California

In the Top 4 Worldwide
Marshall Undergraduates Make Finals in CFA Global Investment Research Challenge
April 27, 2011 • by News at Marshall

A group of USC Marshall undergraduates was one of four teams to make it to the global finals of the fifth annual CFA Institute Global Investment Research Challenge on April 8 in Omaha, Neb.

Meixi Chen ‘12, Ada del Rosso ‘11, Amir Ganaba ‘12, Aly Laux ‘11 and Richard Graham ‘12, who served as team captain, participated in the worldwide competition, which provides students with real-world experience in equity research and company analysis. Having won the local challenge in Southern California in March, they advanced to the regional final on April 7, where they competed against approximately 40 teams, some of which were MBA students, and earned the trophy and iPads for each team member.

While Marshall represented the Americas region in the finals, the three other teams were: Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy) representing the EMEA region, Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA) representing the New York region and Thammasat University (Bangkok, Thailand) representing the Asia Pacific region. Politecnico di Milano’s team of five master of science in management, economics and industrial engineering students won the competition.

"Everyone on the team is very proud of our accomplishments and the recognition this brings to USC," Graham says.

The Marshall team had to produce an equity research report about Western Digital, a publicly traded company that makes hard drives, and present that report to a panel of judges consisting of heads of research, portfolio managers and chief investment officers from the world’s top financial firms. The students worked directly with company management from Western Digital and were mentored by an independent investment professional from Nadal Capital Management, a CFA charter holder, gaining valuable hands-on experience in equity research and company analysis.

"Marshall had taught us lots of good technical and presentation skills, and we brought lots of energy and enthusiasm," Graham says. "We had a great team dynamic and that definitely set us apart."

The team’s faculty advisers were Julia Plotts, Zekiye Selvili and Mick Swartz from Marshall’s clinical finance and business economics department. Swartz, who accompanied the students at the regional and global finals, mentioned their “fantastic presentation skills,” and independently acknowledged the team’s energy and dynamic as tremendous strengths.

"What set them apart and brought them to the very top was their ability to answer all the judges’ questions in very informed ways," Swartz said, adding that all five members were knowledgeable in every area of questioning.

The CFA Institute is a global, nonprofit association of investment professionals that awards the CFA and CIPM designations. The Global Investment Research Challenge is an educational initiative that promotes best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.