Financial Markets Team Wins Big Again!

LSBE Financial Markets Team: (L to R) Ryan Kimbrel, Frank Takkinen, Reed Leonidas, Nawal Mirza, Ryan Woitalla, and Joe Artim, Director of the Program
March 2, 2018

Five students from the UMD’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics’ Financial Markets Program earned first place in the Upper Midwest local final of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute’s Annual Research Challenge in Minneapolis on February 15, 2018.  

Ryan Kimbrel, Reed Leonidas, Nawal Mirza, Frank Takkinen and Ryan Woitalla competed against sixteen other teams from four states with the final round between UMD, Bethel College, Gustavus Aldophus College, North Dakota State University, and University of Minnesota Carlson School Undergraduate.

Teams conducted an extensive financial analysis on the subject company, Fastenal Company, which was selected by the Twin Cities’ CFA Society. Fastenal is a leading industrial supply company headquartered in Winona, MN and was founded by Bob Kierlin in 1967. Fastenal trades under the ticker symbol “FAST.” 

Boston Bound

The top five teams, judged accordingly by their written report, were invited to present their findings to a panel of CFA charter-holding industry judges. The team from LSBE earned the right to advance to the Americas Regional final round, as the team accumulated the highest aggregate score on their oral presentation and defense of their analysis. The team will compete in the Americas Regional final in Boston, MA on March 19 and 20along with over 50 other teams from universities in North and South America that have won the right to advance through their respective local CFA Research Challenges.

“I am very proud and happy for our team. They have worked so hard and persevered through this process ultimately earning their right to represent our program, school, university, and local at the Americas Region final.” said Joe Artim, Director of the LSBE Financial Markets Program and the team’s faculty mentor. “Since the start of our local competition in 2011, we have fielded excellent teams each year and it’s extremely gratifying to have captured the local title again this year which is our second consecutive year and third title in the last four years.”

"As a graduate of UMD and mentor to the Bulldog students since the CFA Global Research Challenge's inception in Minnesota, I couldn't be more proud. Every year I’m impressed with the passion and quality of their effort put forward." said Josh Hill (UMD ‘2002), Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor at CAPTRUST Financial Advisors in Minneapolis, MN and the team’s industry mentor. 

Teams from LSBE have advanced to the local final each year and have now captured the title three times, finished runner’s up four times in the event’s eight year history. “We seem to always have talented teams competing in this type of challenge and competition,” added Artim. “This year’s team did an excellent job with the project and excelled in delivering their results at the presentation event. The purpose of the CFA Research Challenge is to help develop best practices for future investment professionals and provide the opportunity for experienced practitioners to give back to the industry’s next generation. Again, this year’s CFA Research Challenge was a huge success!”