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Chaifetz School Teams Place First and Second at CFA Institute Research Challenge Subregional Competition


Two teams of finance students from the Chaifetz School of Business recently placed first and second, respectively, at the sub-regional round of the annual CFA Institute Research Challenge in February. 

The winning team consisted of Madelyn Pulver, Saikushal Marri and Jacob Dowell. The runner-up team consisted of Zoe Pezold, Alvin Vojka and Oscar Alvarez. Associate Professor Tom Doellman and Department Chair and Professor Naresh Bansal served as faculty mentors for the two teams.

Each year, participating universities assemble teams of three to five students and assign them to analyze a publicly traded company. Students then prepare a written report on their assigned company recommending whether to buy, sell or hold the stock. Teams present their findings to a panel of industry experts, and winners are selected based on the students’ knowledge and equity analysis. 

Students in the Chaifetz School's Applied Portfolio Management class pose for a group photo outisde of the Edward Jones Data Analytics lab

A team of Finance students from the Chaifetz School of Business won first place in the regional round of the 2022 CFA Institute Research Challenge. From left to right: Aaron Goeckner (industry mentor), Saikushal Marri, Madelyn Pulver,  Jacob Dowell (students), Tom Doellman (faculty advisor)

Although Chaifetz School students have participated in the CFA Institute Research Challenge for several years, this was the first time that Saint Louis University was represented by two teams at the competition. The SLU teams analyzed ESCO Technologies (ticker: ESE), which is headquartered in St. Louis. 

Students also received support in the competition from industry professionals Jennifer Rowland, Senior Director of Portfolio Management at Aetna, and Aaron Goeckner, Research Analyst at Semper Augustus Investments Group.

Learn more about students competing in the 2022 CFA competition

"I am expecting to further develop and strengthen key skills in financial analysis, data modeling, and collaboration with industry professionals throughout this process.” Pezold said. “I am striving for success but also for personal growth, and intend on carrying forward the knowledge I gain here into my future career endeavors." 

Students on this year’s teams completed the Chaifetz School’s Applied Portfolio Management course during the Fall 2021 semester. The experiential learning opportunity gives students the chance to act as equity analysts and manage nearly $2 million of Saint Louis University’s endowment fund with the help of finance industry professionals from the St. Louis region. 

“These students should be well prepared for this competition and, from working with them, I know they are eager to put the skills they acquired in Applied Portfolio Management to further practical use,” Doellman said. 

Dr. Bansal said that the success of both teams at the sub-regional round of the competition is a strong indicator of the high caliber of the students in the APM program. 

“The department is very proud of our students, and we know they will represent SLU proudly, regardless of the outcome of the competition,” Bansal said.

According to the CFA Institute, more than 5,000 students and 900 universities from across the globe participated in the challenge in 2021. In addition to the practical experience in equity research students receive from the competition, events are a great opportunity for students to network with industry professionals and peers from other universities. 

The winning team will advance to the regional round, with a chance to move on to the global final in New York City in May. Details for the regional round have not yet been announced.

about the richard a. chaifetz school of business

Founded in 1910, the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business at Saint Louis University has shaped the future of industry for more than a century as one of the oldest business schools west of the Mississippi. Today, SLU's business school continues to build on its reputation as a leader in business education through its commitment to inclusion, innovation and impact. The Chaifetz School’s undergraduate and graduate programs have been nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report, Poets&Quants and The Princeton Review.