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Purdue team earns second straight win in annual research competition

Friday, February 26, 2021

CFA team

For the second year in a row, a team of students from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management and College of Engineering took a step toward national and global recognition with a victory in Indiana’s 2021 CFA Institute Research Challenge.

The annual global equity research competition provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis, giving them real-world experience as they assume the role of research analysts. They are judged by industry professionals on their ability to value a stock, write a research report and present their recommendations.

In addition to Purdue, participating universities at the CFA Society of Indianapolis statewide competition were Anderson University, Butler University, IUPUI Kelley School of Business, Marian University and Taylor University.

The Krannert team was composed of MS in Finance student Noah Scott, undergraduate finance majors Julius Byrd and Valerie Cornelio, and Julia Iglesias, a junior majoring in biomedical engineering.  Faculty coach Fabricio d'Almeida, a clinical assistant professor in Krannert’s finance area, aided the team.

“This competition really challenged us to depend on each other's strengths and be open to different ideas,” says Cornelio. “We believe a huge contribution to our victory was the storyline of our presentation. As we were working with a challenging industry and complicated company, we had to find a way to tie in all our parts of the presentation with a cohesive connection.

“The diversity in our strengths, experiences, and thoughts coming from one engineering and two finance undergrads along with a master’s student played a pivotal role in building our story and really selling our recommendation.”

Iglesias says forecasting revenues was the most complex part of the competition. “We had a very basic exposure and knowledge about this industry, so knowing where to start the valuation was difficult,” she says. “Further, backing up our recommendation with various types of analyses such as the Monte Carlo, Altman-Z Score, Bull and Bear sensitivities was a challenge due to our limited knowledge in finance.

“By taking the time to study, watching countless YouTube videos, and reaching out to many professors for advice, we were able to learn and overcome these challenges. Looking back, the case really helped us broaden and deepen our knowledge in finance and gave us an excellent opportunity to apply our knowledge to real-world problems outside the classroom.”

Byrd applied many of his existing skills to the research, but found himself as challenged as his teammates. “Coming from a finance background, I was able to use some of the techniques that we have learned in classroom in a real word scenario,” he says. “I have participated in other case competitions, but the CFA case competition really pushed my ability to learn best industry practices.”

After clearing the state-level competition, the Purdue team will continue to the sub-regional competition and potentially the regional and global rounds in New York City in April.

According to the CFA Institute, the annual competition attracts more than 6,100 students from nearly 1,200 universities and 95 countries. In addition to honing their financial and analytical skills, students benefit by showcasing their university on a global scale and augmenting their classroom learning with practical training.