Portland State Business Students Demonstrate Excellence in Finance
Author: Crista Tappan, The School of Business
Posted: March 6, 2019
The School of Business at Portland State University is celebrating a double-victory with wins of first place in the CFA Research Challenge and second place in the ACG Cup Finance Case Competition.

On February 22, Team PSU—comprised of Master of Science in Finance (MSF) students Yuxuan Luo, Duygu Nazlibilek and Viet Tran, and undergraduate finance students Aaron Cole and Travis Royce—won first place in the Portland CFA Institute Research Challenge. PSU bested teams from Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Reed College, University of Portland and Pacific University, earning a place in the regional competition in New York City this April.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a global competition that takes place annually, providing university-level students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. During the challenge, students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company—Nike, in this case—and then create a research report with a buy, sell or hold recommendation.

Each research challenge brings together over 5,000 students from 1,000 different universities worldwide, in addition to over 140 CFA member societies and 3,500 member volunteers.

“Our team put substantial effort in preparing for the CFA competition and we are grateful for winning first place,” said Luo. “For me, it was not about winning the competition, it was about gaining the experience that allowed me to further improve my financial and the presentation skills and working with a great team and learning from them.”

PSU Finance Professor Michael Dimond coached the team to victory, with the support of fellow finance faculty Bruce Nisker.
That same day, MBA students Brad Goodenough, Zach Olson and Dragon Tran earned second place and $3,500 in the ACG Finance Case Competition. PSU MSF Director Julie Hackett and PSU Finance Professor Janet Hamilton helped coach the students to success.

“This competition was truly a highlight of my MBA experience,” said Goodenough. “It was exhilarating to compete against other schools, allowing us to simultaneously show off and observe talent.”

“The judges were fantastic and I really loved being challenged as it required us to think on our feet in addition to the immense preparation we had done,” he added. “The event also served as a wonderful networking opportunity and I met a lot of really great professionals in the finance industry.”

This was the third year of the competition, which includes student participants from MBA, undergraduate and graduate finance majors from various business schools across Oregon and Washington. First place went to University of Washington MBA students and third place was a tie between University of Oregon Master of Finance students and Gonzaga University undergraduate students.

Each year, students are given a case study that showcases real-world problems of companies who are seeking to grow, sell or address other critical issues regarding finance strategy.

This competition allows students to demonstrate their understanding of corporate strategic growth and present their knowledge to industry leaders. The judges for the competition included investment bankers, accountants, corporate leaders and various members of the financial community.