Hundreds of hours of research and writing has proven to be a solid investment for a team of five finance majors who competed in and won the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute sponsored Research Challenge.
The competition allows teams of students from different universities to compete against one another as they attempt to analyze the value of a particular company, in this case Herman Miller. Students develop a financial model, place a value on the company, and project the company’s 12-month target price. The students then present their recommendations to a panel of judges made up of industry professionals.
The West Michigan CFA Society was hosted by Grand Valley State University and involved teams from seven universities, including Grand Valley, Western Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Ferris State University, Bowling Green State University and University of Toledo.
The winning team consisted of five students: Hunter Lewis, Tim Halpin, Joakim Aske, Nick Curtis, and Eric Bridges. Sridhar Sundaram, chair of Grand Valley’s Finance Department, served as a faculty mentor and Kathy Vogelsang, chief investment officer at the Van Andel Institute, served as an industry mentor.
Senior finance and business economic major Hunter Lewis said the most exciting part of the competition was being able create an analysis for a company from the ground up. “This competition allows students to take their observations and what they’ve learned in the classroom and tell a story about a company,” said Lewis. “It allows you to put some character behind the numbers.”
Sundaram said the competition has significant value for students and serves as a chance to directly apply what they’ve learned in class as well a real-world investment experience with the opportunity to network with professionals in the industry.
“The competition provides students the opportunity to see a window into the real world of investing and how it is practiced,” said Sundaram. “It allows them to decide if this is truly something they want to pursue.”
The research team will travel to New York to compete on the national level.