Why You Should Start Preparing Early for the CFA Research Challenge

It might seem a little early to start thinking about next year’s CFA Institute Research Challenge, but if you’re studying Business Administration or Finance or getting an MBA in Finance and Banking, now is a good time to start planning.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a global competition where students from universities and colleges all over the world get a chance to be financial analysts, researching a publicly traded company. The students get to work with industry experts, who act as mentors, over a period of several months while also getting to compete with students from the world’s leading universities.

After analyzing their assigned company, each team submits a report with a buy, sell or hold recommendation. Following the report, the team then presents their research to a panel of industry experts. Last year, 4,250 students from more than 925 universities competed, according to the CFA Society website.

“It gives them an opportunity to do something they would be doing in the real world,” said Tanweer Ali, the instructor who oversees the University of New York in Prague student team.

For three years in a row, from 2013-2015, UNYP won first place in the competition. This year’s team was made up of the following students: Adam Deines, Nataliya Alieva, Huy Do Quang, Nikita Biurlin and Anastasia Latenkova.

While most of the UNYP students who participate are completing a generalist business administration Bachelor’s degree, they are competing with students many of whom are taking more specialised finance degrees, sometimes at the masters level.. “So the students really have to prepare themselves and gain that knowledge,” Tanweer said.

The benefits of winning are plenty. They include international travel to the final round, CFA Society internships, contacts in the financial sector, mentoring and a great point for your CV. Many students in past winning teams have gone on to postgraduate programs at prestigious institutions and / or employment at leading financial firms, according to Tanweer.

Which is why planning early can be key to winning. Using the summer to get a good team together and do research can make all the difference.

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