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K-State Today

February 27, 2013

Adding up to a win: Team wins Kansas City finance challenge, will compete at regionals in Toronto

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Students from Kansas State University's College of Business Administration won the Kansas City Chartered Financial Analyst Society's 2013 CFA Institute Research Challenge and will advance to compete in the Regional Americas Research Challenge in Toronto in March.

Team members are C.J. Heinz, senior in accounting, Leawood; Jerrod Reddick, senior in accounting, Overland Park; Kendal Clawson, senior in finance and agricultural economics, Satanta; and Jonathon Mason, senior in finance, Wichita. Faculty adviser is Scott Hendrix, the College of Business Administration's Gates Capital Management faculty fellow and an instructor of finance, and industry mentor is Lois Cox, director of investments for the Kansas State University Foundation.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an international competition between university-sponsored teams of both undergraduate and graduate students. The competition is done at the local, regional and global levels. In the previous academic year, more than 3,000 students from more than 650 universities in 65 countries participated in the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

At the Kansas City event, the Kansas State team competed against teams from eight regional universities. In the competition, teams analyzed a publicly traded company and made a recommendation as to whether the company should be bought as an investment. Students had the opportunity to meet and then have a follow-up conference call with senior management. They were asked to write a report of up to 10 pages that included investment summaries, valuation, financial analysis and investment risks.

The top five schools were invited to make a presentation where they were judged on their argument, analysis, team involvement and poise.

"The students put in many hours of work for the competition," Hendrix said. "They worked really hard and were very well prepared to face the competition, which included teams made up of Master of Business Administration candidates."

As industry mentor, Cox had six hours to work with the team prior to the students turning in their written report, as well as two hours before their oral presentation. Her role was to give the students an investment industry perspective.

"I provided the students with a perspective outside what they might have been exposed to in their classrooms and in their investment books," Cox said. "These young men deserve to represent Kansas State University and the College of Business Administration in the next round of this competition given all their hard work and dedication to this process.

The team received a $4,000 prize as well as fees waived to take Level 1 of the Chartered Financial Analyst exam. In addition, the team's expenses will be paid to compete in the Americas competition in Toronto. Should the team win the event, it will compete at the Global Championship in London in April.

"We learned a lot from doing the CFA competition," Heinz said, adding that each team member worked nearly 200 hours on the research part of the competition, plus an additional 60 hours on the presentation.

"It allowed us to apply many of the concepts we've learned in class to a real-world situation," he said. "The things we learned from the CFA competition will undoubtedly be very helpful in class and as we begin working after college."

Heinz and Reddick plan to graduate in May and both have accepted job offers with J.P. Morgan. Mason and Clawson plan to graduate in December. They have accepted internship positions with Ernst & Young and Koch Industries, respectively.