A team of students from The University of The Bahamas (UB) has been selected as a subregional finalist in the Atlantic Islands division of the CFA Institute Research Challenge. This global intercollegiate competition offers students the unique opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world practice in equity research.
The UB team: Shania Darville, Courtney John, Rashorn Fraser, and Tiasha Lewis, has advanced to the subregional presentation round of the competition.
Darville, John, Fraser and Lewis will compete against three groups of students from other regional universities including University College of The Cayman Islands; University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados; and University of Technology, Jamaica in the sub-regional challenge on February 20.
The winning team will earn a spot to compete at the virtual Americas regional finals in mid-April for a chance to participate in the global final against students from the Asia-Pacific region and the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa.)
Each research challenge is organized by the CFA Institute and local CFA Society volunteers mentor and support students through the process.
Raschard McKinney, trust officer at J.P. Morgan Bahamas and Angelo Butler, senior research analyst at CFAL, served as industry mentor and faculty advisor respectively for the UB team this year.
“The students submitted a research paper on January 4, in which they provided detailed analysis of a company by applying their classroom knowledge in a practical scenario,” said Butler. “A panel of research professionals, portfolio managers, and investment officers from some of the top firms in the world evaluated the submissions of the students against papers presented from groups from across the region.”
Darville, a senior studying finance said the CFA Institute Research Challenge allowed her and her teammates to gain real-world experience with financially analyzing publicly traded companies.
“In addition, this research challenge has given me the opportunity to communicate and learn from financial professionals,” said Darville.
Courtney John, another fourth-year finance major with aspirations of becoming a financial analyst, said the challenge has expanded her grasp of how a business works.
“The entire project helped me to gain a greater understanding of how to analyze the inner workings of a company. Furthermore, the project has shown me the importance of diversification. As I examined how major areas of the company were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I came to realize that smaller areas became big revenue earners for the company during this critical time.”
Rashorn Fraser, a senior majoring in economics and finance, said one of the lessons he learned through the process was when analyzing the company, or any company, the smallest details “speak the loudest” and are what will give a true outlook on how a company is performing.
“Companies today are starting to take a more purposeful approach with how they’re run, including more social responsibilities within their operations and this company was an example of that.”
Lewis, who is studying banking, finance and Spanish, said her greatest challenge was time.
“I had to juggle college classes, research projects, exams, student government association duties, work, tutor sessions, etc. while trying to break down the annual reports for the company. Luckily, this challenge was solved by having a great team of students who together were able to complete the analysis. Teamwork made the dream work.”
McKinney expressed pride in the team’s achievement.
“I am enormously proud of the students for this accomplishment,” said McKinney. “I’ve had the opportunity to see them sit on and participate in a call with executives of the multi-national listed company that they were reviewing. As investment analysts, they heard projections and plans for the company and tied these with their qualitative and quantitative review of the stock of the business. For the University of The Bahamas, their performance demonstrates the caliber of students that the university produces and its ability to position students to stand on international platforms.”
Butler said participation in the challenge provides students with an opportunity to see what professionals responsible for making investment decisions analyze on an ongoing basis.
“I hope this experience will help them not only in their careers but also as they make investment decisions for themselves as individuals going forward.”