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CFA Institute Research Challenge

An educational initiative that promotes best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition which provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics. Each student participant will be tested on their analytic, valuation, report writing and presentation skills and gain real-world experience as they assume the role of a research analyst.

More than 6,100 students from over 1,150 universities, 117 CFA Local Level Challenges, and 160 local hosts in 95 countries and territories with more than 4,000 dedicated member volunteers participated in the 2018-2019 CFA Institute Research Challenge.

Click here for details on how the Research Challenge works.

CFA Society Chicago is proud to host the local level of the CFA Institute Research Challenge in Chicago.

Schedule of Events

Research Challenge spans October 2019 through February 2020 and consists of the following components:

  • CFA Society Chicago Research Challenge Kick-Off Webinar (October 4, 2019)

Financial Valuation Models

Introduction to Company Analysis

Industry & Company Analysis

Financial Analysis Review Grid

  • CFA Society Chicago to officially announce Feature Company (October 4, 2019)
  • Student and Faculty Advisor registration deadline for Feature Company Presentation (October 23, 2019)
  • CFA Society Chicago to assign each team an industry mentor (No later than October 25, 2019)
  • Feature Company Presentation (October 25, 2019 – Location TBD)
  • Teams finalized and registered with CFA Society Chicago and CFA Institute (October 26, 2019)

Student Registration

Volunteer Registration

  • Equity Research Report due to CFA Society Chicago (January 21, 2020)
  • Advancing Teams Announced (February 7, 2020)
  • Americas Regionals  (April 20-21, 2020 – New York)
  • Global Final (April 22, 2020 – New York)

Feature Company: ULTA

Ulta Beauty is the largest U.S. beauty retailer and the premier beauty destination for cosmetics, fragrance, skin care products, hair care products and salon services. In 1990, the Company reinvented the beauty retail experience by offering a new way to shop for beauty – bringing together all things beauty, all in one place. Today, Ulta Beauty has grown to become the top national retailer offering the complete beauty experience.

Ulta Beauty brings possibilities to life through the power of beauty each and every day in our stores and online with more than 25,000 products from approximately 500 well-established and emerging beauty brands across all categories and price points, including Ulta Beauty’s own private label. Ulta Beauty also offers a full-service salon in every store featuring hair, skin, brow, and make-up services.

Ulta Beauty is recognized for its commitment to personalized service, fun and inviting stores and our industry-leading Ultamate Rewards loyalty program. As of November 2, 2019, Ulta Beauty operates 1,241 retail stores across 50 states and also distributes its products through its website.

Participating Universities

Augustana College
Benedictine University
DePaul University
Illinois Institute of Technology
Loyola University Chicago
Northern Illinois University
Olivet University (2 Undergraduate Teams)
The University of Chicago
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign


Contact us at researchchallenge@cfachicago.org


2019 – 2020 CFA Society Chicago

Local Level Winner

Illinois Institute of Technology




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CFA Society Chicago Level Part 2
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CFA Society Chicago Level Part 3
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CFA Society Chicago Level Part 4
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