Thursday, February 27, 2020

Today - for the 12th year - Marquette University's AIM program will be competing in the CFA Institute Research Challenge

Marquette's AIM teams are competing in the CFA Institute Research Challenge for the opportunity to advance to the Americas Region Finals

Marquette AIM Teams will be competing locally with the hope of advancing to the Americas CFA Research Challenge which will be held in NYC in April

The CFA Institute Research Challenge offers students a unique opportunity to learn from leading industry experts and compete with peers from the world’s top finance programs. This annual educational initiative promotes best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts through hands-on mentoring and intensive training in company analysis and presentation skills.  

Dr. David Krause, AIM program director stated that, "We love to compete in the CFA Challenge. We’re been fortunate that we have advanced to the Americas Regional Finals 9 times over the past 11 years. I hope that tomorrow a Marquette University AIM team will again be headed to the Americas round of the CFA Investment Research Challenge."

Universities and colleges that will be participating in the local two Wisconsin CFA Research Challenges included:
  • Carthage College
  • Marquette University (2 teams)
  • UW-Eau Clare
  • UW-Milwaukee
  • UW-Madison
  • UW-Oshkosh
  • UW-Whitewater (2 teams) 

 According to Dr. Krause, “This marks the 12th year of AIM’s participation in the CFA Investment Research Challenge. Our past teams have enjoyed great success, and each former team member echoes the value of their experience. We are hosting two teams who are both excellent representatives of the AIM program."  More information about the CFA Challenge can be found at this web site:

Marquette's two teams from the AIM program in the 2018-2019 CFA Institute Research Challenge included the following:

Marquette Gold Team – Industry Mentor Drew North

Nicholas Goehring
Andrew O’Neill
Alexander Penkwitz
Matthew Prinske
Mary Kate Simon

Marquette Blue Team – Mentor Joe Hodes

Edward Eisenhauer
Connor Jones
Gino Piscopo
Daniel Ptacek
Benjamin Schmidt

Objective of the Challenge: The CFA Challenges provides a solid learning experience and exposure to the real world of investments through an investment research “competition” managed by investment professionals (i.e. the Milwaukee and Madison CFA Societies). Preparation for this competition introduces the students to the multiple steps that comprise the investment process, such as investment thesis development, company valuation, competitive analysis, and “selling” of investment thesis to a demanding audience.
AIM 2019 team
Structure/Timeframe: The structure of the competition is identical to that used by the New York Society of Financial Analysts in their competitions. Teams at the local competitions will evaluate a company selected by the local CFA society; meet with management of that company for questions and discussion; and prepare a written analysis (initiation report) of 10 pages maximum plus exhibits and appendix. The papers will be evaluated and scored by a group of investment professionals as judges. The teams will then present their analysis to another panel of judges, who will then select the winning team at the local level. Here is the time line for this year's challenge:
AIM 2018 team

a.       October 2019: Two teams of 5 students were selected. Dr. Krause is the faculty adviser and Joe Hodes and Andrew North served as the teams' industry mentors.
b.      November 2019: The kickoff meeting was held and the subject company was introduced – Fiserv (FISV). Then in December the CFA Society arranged for the teams met with Fiserv’s CFO, Bob Hau. At this time he made a presentation to the students similar to a typical “road show” for its investors.
c.       December 2019: The teams submitted the first draft of their paper to their mentor and faculty advisor for critique.
d.      January 2020: The two teams incorporated end of year data into their analysis, continued their financial modeling and wrote their final paper. Each team submitted their final research paper to the local CFA society for judging.

e.       February 2020: Local competition are held with each team making a 10 minute oral presentation to a panel of judges followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. The panel swill select which participating team will advance to the next level of competition (Americas level in NYC).
f.       April 2020: The winning local teams compete at the Americas (against nearly 70 North and South American teams) with the competition being held in New York.
g.       April 2020: Global Finals will also be held in New York. The Global Finals consist of the winners of the three regional finals from Asia-Pacific, EMEA, and the Americas.


The CFA Institute Research Challenge offers students the unique opportunity to learn from leading industry experts and compete with peers from the world’s top finance programs.  This annual educational initiative promotes best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts through hands-on mentoring and intensive training in company analysis and presentation skills. 

The first ever CFA Institute Research Challenge competition was hosted by the New York Society of Security Analysts in 2002 and involved just five teams from the New York area. Since then, the competition has grown to involve thousands of students from nearly 1000 universities in more than 50 countries.

The Challenge gathers students, investment industry professionals, executives from publicly traded companies, and corporate sponsors together locally, regionally, and globally for a real world competition.  Participation in the Challenge promotes best practices in equity research and company analysis, as students research, analyze, and report on a company as if they are practicing analysts.  Additionally, all participants are introduced to and held to the standard of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

How the Challenge Works:  Local CFA Societies, CFA Institute, and other organizations host and launch a local Research Challenge in conjunction with their participating universities.  The universities assemble teams of 3-5 business and finance students who work directly with a company in researching and preparing a company analysis.  The team’s final presentations are locally evaluated 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 regional competitions in the Americas, Asia, and Europe and then to the Global Finale.

Dr. David Krause, who serves as the faculty advisor of the two Marquette CFA teams stated, "I'm very proud of all the students who are participating in the CFA Challenge. Like past teams, both of our teams worked hard and delivered a quality product. This experience and the friendships established will stay with them throughout their careers. I can't say enough good things about the CFA Challenge - it is one of the very best experiential programs in academia. Best of luck to all of the teams in the Challenge."