A Group Project Like No Other

Members of the Financial Markets CFA Challenge Team
May 21, 2018

An amazing way to top off college combined diligence, friendship, team work, and many miles. 

Imagine embarking on an international trip to vie for the global and final trophy in a competition that is coordinated by your chosen career field’s professional organization – what a way to end the academic year!

Reed Leonidas, Ryan Woitalla, Nawal Mirza, Ryan Kimbrel, and Frank Takkinen (pictured left to right above) who were students in UMD’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) Financial Markets Program and graduated this sprinFinancial Markets Program team in Malaysia g, traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to compete in the global final of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute’s Research Challenge in late April.

The international competition put LSBE’s Financial Markets team up against teams from Jacksonville University (USA), BI Norwegian Business School (Norway), Sunway University (Malaysia), and the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). 

An additional distinction magnified the significance of the attendance by LSBE’s team, as they realized they might have been the only team consisting solely of undergraduate students.

“I believe most of the other schools were either comprised of graduate only or graduate majorities, said Financial Markets Program Director Joe Artim. “ Our team and maybe Sunway University from Malaysia were the only undergraduate teams in the global finals. However, Sunway has a dedicated 3+year Financial Analysis program within their business school.”

Capturing the first place global trophy was the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. The Research Challenge does not rank the remaining teams. 

“It was exciting to watch the live feed,” said LSBE Dean Amy B. Hietapelto. (The competition took place at 3:00 p.m. in Malaysia, which was 2:00 a.m. in Duluth.)

 "Traveling overseas to compete with the top five schools in the world was an incredible accomplishment in itself,” said Takkinen, who was hired by Lake Street Capital Management as an Equity Research Associate. “Unfortunately we fell short of taking home the global title but felt the winning team was within our competitive range." 

Added Woitalla, "It was an incredible experience traveling to Kuala Lumpur. The city is very modern and growing very fast. Being able to explore the city and try the food with some of my best friends was awesome and something I will never forget."

The CFA Society of Minnesota is hosting a recognition event for the team in Minneapolis on June 14 in Minneapolis. 

More details on the team’s road to Malaysia can be found on the LSBE website’s news archive.