Last Friday, EADA CFA Research Challenge 2021 team was selected to continue on to the final next month. The CFA Research Challenge is a global competition designed to train participants in financial analysis. Each year, more than 5,000 students and 1,000 universities and business schools collaborate in the Challenge. Groups of students work together to analyse a publicly traded company –this year CaixaBank– to produce a research report with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation, based on their share valuation.
On March 3, the finalists, among them EADA’s team, will attend the virtual final, where they will defend their report. EADA’s winning team is made up of a diverse group of participants from all over the world from the International Master in Finance: Domenica Avellán Burgos (Ecuador), Paulina Jaensch (Germany), Albert Moragriega (Spain), Hans Troye (Norway), Thore Vogel (Germany).
Programme Director Jaume Bonet has nothing but praise for the team: “They have all worked very hard,” he says. “Besides learning new technical concepts, the team members have learnt important soft skills such as working under pressure, project management and team building. They have done an excellent job and I am really proud of them.”
This year’s company, CaixaBank, presented some unique challenges for participants. “This has been the most challenging, yet rewarding, CFA task I have seen,” says CFA faculty advisor Gavin Gkretzschmar. “The valuation involved a financial institution – a bank and insurance entity, the merger of CaixaBank with Bankia, a pandemic adjustment and a structural takeout of Bankia shareholders! There is no doubt that the experience adds value to the skillset and pulls teams together in a way that simulates the intensity of an asset analyst workplace environment.”
Finalist team member Doménica accepted the announcement of the institution to be analysed in her stride. “We decided to see the extra financial complexity of CaixaBank as positive – it would give us the chance to go beyond and learn more than any other year in the CFA Research Challenge.”
Paulina describes the two-pronged approach to learning that the CFA Research Challenge represented for her. “On the one hand, I developed the hard skills to value a bank in the middle of a pandemic and a major merger,” she says. “On the other hand, the experience is about achieving a goal that you can only achieve as a true team: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’.”
In fact, developing the skills to work effectively in a team has proven time and time again to be one of the biggest takeaways for participants. For Thore, the most important thing he learned was that “the team was more important than the task”.
EADA’s CFA Research Challenge team was chosen last October, when they began working on the research report for CaixaBank, including a comprehensive financial analysis and a final company valuation. The report was turned in on February 5.
After months of preparation, the winning team is pleased to have been selected to continue on to the final in Madrid. Participants highly recommends the experience, citing a significant improvement in time management skills and a comprehensive understanding of valuation.
Team member Albert recommends the CFA Research Challenge as preparation for a career in finance. “I now feel much more confident with my knowledge in the field,” he says. “The valuation of CaixaBank required us to be accurate in our calculations and critical in our conclusions, and pushed us to dig deeply into academic concepts that we may not have seen before.”
According to teammate Hans, the CFA Research Challenge was an unforgettable component of his EADA master’s experience. “My knowledge of the world of finance expanded tremendously,” he says. “I actually got to see how valuations for financial institutions work with a real life example, and this has been the most fun project that I have been a part of!”
Members of the winning Team Albert and Paulina share their full experience in the CFA Research Challenge here.