Buy, sell or hold?

Business students lead Lynn’s team to second place in accounting competition

MBA Students

Lynn University took second place in the local competition of the CFA Institute Research Challenge at Gulf Coast College in Fort Myers, Feb. 9. The annual competition provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis.

Lynn’s three-person team participated among more than 20 Florida universities in the local challenge and 15 in the second round. Its top-four finish earned Lynn a place in the finals with Jacksonville University, which came in first place, University of Florida and Florida Atlantic University.

“We got second place by a very close margin,” says Jose Lopez, associate professor in Lynn’s College of Business and Management, who led the project and provided guidance and direction to the team.

“We had a huge disadvantage since we don’t even have an accounting major here at Lynn. But we put up a good fight!” (Lynn lost by an extremely close margin, under 10 points of the 100-point scale.)

The competition is “a really big deal” in the finance world, says Lopez. The Lynn students who competed—undergrads Tom Sharp, Austin Schiff and Donato Hernandez, accompanied by Lynn business professor, Joseph Ingles—gained significant visibility among potential employers ahead of graduation, says Lopez.

Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company. Each team writes a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell or hold recommendation and presents and defends its analysis to a panel of industry professionals. The judges analyze whether they gave the right advice, and Lynn was one of two finalists that did.

"Making it to the finals was a function of hard work and teamwork. It was a process that forced us to expand our fields of study and test our capabilities,” says Hernandez on behalf of his team. “And after a couple months of sacrifice and hard work, we are pleased to see it pay off.”

Lopez says he’s proud of the students. They started working on the presentation in October as a class project and on their own time. “They put in a lot of hours. They want to do this for a living,” says Lopez. And odds are good they will.

The first Research Challenge competition was hosted by the New York Society of Security Analysts in 2002 and involved just five teams from the New York area. Since then, the competition has grown to involve tens of thousands of students from over 900 universities in more than 75 countries.

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