A team of students from Northern Illinois University (NIU) was named Global Champion of the 16th Annual CFA Institute Research Challenge. NIU team members Nolan O’Rear, Nicholas Stone, and Paula Veyhle worked with Gina Nicolosi, Ph.D., NIU faculty advisor, and Ian Long, CFA, industry mentor, on their winning project.
CFA Institute’s Research Challenge is a global competition held annually where teams of university students are tested on their analytical, valuation, report writing, and presentation skills. The competition attracted more than 6,400 students from 1,100 universities representing 91 markets.
Student team member Nolan O’Rear stated “The CFA Institute Research Challenge was the capstone of my college education. The knowledge and confidence I gained from the competition transformed my career prospects and will help me achieve success in the years to come.” NIU teammate Paula Veyhle said “As an international student, the global CFA Institute Research Challenge has been an extremely valuable experiential learning opportunity encompassing many important aspects that it takes to be successful in the future. I am proud to have represented NIU with such an amazing team and I am certain that this competition marks a milestone and shapes each of our careers in very special ways.”
Nicholas Stone followed up on his teammates’ remarks stating “The CFA Institute Research Challenge has been the most intensive and exciting experience I’ve had as both an undergraduate and graduate student. The transferable skills learned are unbelievable and unmatched. The challenge opened opportunities for equity research and management that I didn’t have before. I know that the team I competed with will be some of my closest friends outside of college.”
The NIU team began its run to the Global Finals by winning CFA Society Chicago’s Local Level Research Challenge which kicked off on November 19, 2021, with the announcement of Motorola Solutions, Inc., as the feature company. Teams submitted a written report on the company that supported a buy, sell, or hold recommendation, before presenting their findings in front of a panel of industry experts. The NIU team beat out 12 teams from five other local universities before competing in the regional and final rounds.
The NIU team followed up their local level win by winning the CFA Institute Sub-Regional Semifinals held March 21, 2022, the Regional Semifinals held April 7-8, 2022, and the Americas Regional Final on April 28, 2022. The team presented virtually at the Global Finals on May 13, 2022, with the Global Finals competition airing on May 17, 2022, during CFA Institute’s Alpha Summit GLOBAL 2022.
“We at CFA Society Chicago congratulate the NIU Team on their amazing achievement,” said Deborah Koch, CFA, member of the CFA Society Chicago Research Challenge Committee. “This is Chicago’s first Global Research Challenge Champion, and we could not be more proud! We would also like to thank our featured company Motorola Solutions, and all of our dedicated CFA volunteers that have made this competition a success over the years.”
This achievement marks CFA Society Chicago’s first global win and is the first time a team from CFA Society Chicago returned to the Global Finals since 2012. The final five teams competing in the Global Final were IE Business School (CFA Society Spain), Northern Illinois University (CFA Society Chicago), Polytechnic University of Milan (CFA Society Italy), University of British Columbia (CFA Society Okanagan, CFA Society Vancouver, and CFA Society Victoria), and University of Sydney (CFA Society Sydney).
CFA Society Chicago
Founded in 1925, CFA Society Chicago is part of the worldwide network of CFA Institute member societies that lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society. CFA Society Chicago represents the interests of more than 4,400 investment professionals in Chicago through advocacy, education, events, and professional development. CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials and is a champion of ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. There are more than 180,000 CFA charterholders worldwide in over 160 markets. For more information visit www.cfachicago.org and www.cfainstitute.org.