Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Marquette Tribune article about AIM students and CFA Challenge

AIM undergraduate investors advance to regional competition

March 6, 2012


Marquette's Applied Investment Management team is moving on to the regional competition for the fourth year in a row in the Certified Financial Analysts Research Annual Research Challenge. / Photo courtesy of Dr. David Krause

By Eric Oliver, Special to the Tribune

Marquette’s Applied Investment Management Team continues its four year local winning streak this April as they advance to the regional competition in New York to compete in the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute’s Annual Research Challenge.

The team, comprised of College of Business Administration seniors Jacob Bear, Harrison Davis, Colleen Osborne, Bronson Wetsch, and Alice Wycklendt, faced off against Carroll University, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in February.

The main goal of the competition to present the best analysis of a publicly traded company. For the local competition, the team received Marcus Corporation, based in Milwaukee. The team members then wrote a research report and presented their analysis to a panel of judges.

According to David Krause, director of the AIM program and an adjunct professor in the college, he and the team were excited to be advancing past the local round once again.
“We’ve been in the (local) competition four times and it was the fourth time that we won, so it was a good feeling,” Krause said. “I’m not going to say that I expect it every year because the competition is very challenging … Many of the schools have graduate students competing, and we are an undergraduate team.”

During the regional competition in New York, they will compete against 48 other universities from across North and South America, and if they win they will advance to the semifinals to compete against more universities from Europe and Australia.

“We’re not intimidated by the big schools,” Krause said. “You only have 10 minutes to go in and present your case. We only care about the judges. The students don’t care about the other people in the room, whether they are students from MIT or Stanford. The point is the students can compete at that level.”

Each year Marquette returns to regionals, the playing field grows. In 2008, there were just 16 universities competing.

“Regionals bring the champions of local competitions from North and South America,” Krause said. “The level of competition is very high; teams from MIT and Stanford are par for the course.”
The looming challenges of regionals are not lost on the team, however, as each member is modest about the win.

“There are a lot of good global universities and teams that are competing, but I think we all know what we are capable of,” Wetsch said. “Whether we win or not, the learning experience is the most important part.”

While the thrill of the competition is an added bonus for Wetsch, Osborne and Wycklendt, they couldn’t stress just how thankful they were to be parts of this year’s AIM team.
“Marquette and the students in the program are very fortunate to have AIM,” Wycklendt said. “The group of people dedicated to running the program is outstanding, and it really provides exceptional opportunities for students.”

Wetsch recalls that before the AIM program he didn’t know a lot of people in the college, but through the program he expanded his personal and professional networks to heights that never would have been possible without it.

Perhaps his biggest takeaway from being a member of the AIM team was finding the ability to come together as a team.

“It just pushes the point that in this industry, you have to work together as a team,” he said. “There may be differences, but you really have to come together and put the work into it.”

Osborne said being a member of the AIM team has been integral to her Marquette experience.
“It has definitely made my Marquette experience that much better,” she said. “Like Bronson said, it hasn’t only allowed me to figure out what I want to do, but I’ve met a lot of new people with the same interests, so it’s been a really good experience for me.”

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