AIM students advance in CFA’s Investment Research Challenge


February 24, 2014

Five undergraduate students from Marquette Business’ Applied Investment Management program again have advanced to the CFA Institute’s Global Investment Research Challenge – Americas Regional competition, which will be held in Denver, March 18-19, 2014. This is Marquette’s sixth year participating in the competition. Four winners from the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe/Middle East/Africa regions will compete in this year's global finale on April 25, 2014, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Marquette team, which comprised Chi (Zac) Zhuang, Steven Marszalek, Ryan Bailey, Daniel Gaide and Louis Moran, competed with four teams on Feb. 20 in the local competition, which was hosted by the CFA Societies of Madison and Milwaukee.

"Like the five previous AIM teams, this is a group of very talented students," said Dr. David Krause, director of AIM and adjunct professor of finance. "They worked many hours outside of the classroom researching and preparing their case presentation. Their dedication and level of professionalism helped secure their accomplishment as the local CFA research champions. We are thankful for the CFA Societies of Madison and Milwaukee for hosting this event. We are looking forward to the next round of the investment competition."

The team gave an oral presentation that summarized their research and recommendation of A.O. Smith (NYSE: AOS), a Milwaukee-based industrial firm that is the world’s leading water heater manufacturer. The CFA Societies of Madison and Milwaukee arranged for all of the participating students to meet with members of the company’s management.

How the Challenge Works
According to the CFA Institute, "In order to promote best practices in equity research and company analysis, students research, analyze and report on a company as if they are practicing analysts."
Local CFA societies host and launch an Investment Research Challenge in conjunction with participating universities. The universities assemble teams of three to five business and finance students who work directly with a company in researching and preparing a company analysis.

The teams’ final presentations are evaluated locally by high-profile panels of heads of research, portfolio managers, and chief investment officers from the world’s top firms. The local champions advance to the regional competitions; winners there go on to the global finale.

Marquette and the CFA Institute
Marquette’s AIM program was the first undergraduate business program selected as a CFA Program Partner in 2006. The institute coordinates the investment profession’s most rigorous credentialing program. The partnership designation means that Marquette offers a degree program that covers at least 70 percent of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge, the CFA Institute Ethical and Professional Standards, and additional requirements.

Students in Marquette’s AIM program must take four unique courses, according to Krause. "Introduction to Applied Investment Management, Research and Financial Analysis, Valuation and Portfolio Management, and Investment Management, Ethics and Society provide students with a strong business and financial base of knowledge," he said. "But in keeping with our Jesuit tradition and the CFA Program standards, there is also tremendous emphasis on the ethical issues our graduates will encounter."