MSFA and undergraduate finance students win regional finance competition
Author: School of Business Administration
Posted: February 25, 2013


Congratulations to the Portland State University student team who recently won the regional Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge Competition! The team of Master of Science in Financial Analysis (MSFA) and undergraduate finance students included Preety Novlani, Emily Schrum, Shauna Thomas and Sameer Allabadi, who competed against four other Oregon schools. They will now move on to the national level in Toronto where they will compete against winning teams from all over North America.

The annual competition, hosted by the CFA Society of Portland, involved conducting a valuation of Nike, Inc. and recommending a “buy, sell or hold” position to investors based on each team’s estimates about Nike’s growth and potential. In this financial analysis, students learned that Nike’s reputation as a large and stable company is not the advantage it would seem.

From left to right: Preety Novlani, Emily
Schrum, Sameer Allabadi




“All five teams in the competition were valuing Nike, so they had to make their work and perspective stand out,” said the team’s faculty advisor, Brian Bolton. “And, that’s hard because Nike doesn’t give you much to work with. It would be easier to do that with a company headed for bankruptcy or a company with phenomenal growth. Nike is just really big, good and steady. The team did a great job of finding an angle and incorporating it into the story and valuation.”

Finding a unique angle to support their valuation was a long and arduous task for the team of two MSFA and two undergraduate students, who began preparing for the competition two months ago. So how did the Portland State team distinguish themselves from their competitors? Advisor Brian Bolton attributes their success to four factors:

  1. “They worked harder than the other teams. The judges asked questions, the teams answered. While other teams were jumping around in their slides to use visuals to answer questions, we answered every question without slides—just from the heart or noodle. Our team could answer any question without having to look something up in a table or whatever. They knew the information perfectly and they knew their story perfectly.
  2. They were extremely professional. And a lot of this came through from confidence and comfort. Following their presentation, before leaving the room, they casually and professionally walked up to the judges and thanked them. It was classy.
  3. They had great team chemistry. As much as they got sick of doing the project, they didn’t get sick of working with together.
  4. They’re really smart.”

Congratulations again to Preety, Emily, Shauna and Sameer on this accomplishment and best of luck in Toronto at the national level!