We interviewed International Master in Finance students Paulina Jaensch and Albert Moragriega to find out what it was like to be part of the CFA Research Challenge 2021 team that made it to the virtual Madrid final. Last Friday, it was announced that EADA’s team had been selected to continue on to the CFA Research Challenge Spanish final. At the virtual final, 5 teams compete against other top business schools and universities from around the world to defend their research report on this year’s featured company, CaixaBank.
A little about Paulina
Paulina is from Germany and holds a bachelor’s degree in international business as well as an MSc in Marketing Management. Before coming to EADA, she studied abroad in the Netherlands, the U.S. and Singapore, and she likes to challenge the status quo to make things a little bit better for the world every day.
A little about Albert
Albert is from Spain and holds a bachelor’s degree in business science and management from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He speaks 3 languages and lives by this motto: “Those who aim for an ambitious goal, even if they don’t get to it, will arrive much further than if they had aimed for a mediocre goal”.
What was the most challenging part of the CFA Research Challenge?
Paulina: Starting! Once we developed our model and had a clear overview of our end goal, everything started to flow and came together.
Albert: For me, the most challenging part was 3 weeks before the deadline – we had not done the most crucial part of the project yet: the valuation. The reason for this was simple: we had needed to do a lot of previous research to understand the context of the company before the final step. But it was still stressful!
What was the most valuable thing you learned?
Paulina: The benefits of going the extra mile. The learning experience in the CFA Research Challenge is totally different from the normal way of learning. In the beginning, it’s like being thrown into cold water, but once you learn how to swim, it’s like a wild water rafting ride – frightening but exciting at the same time.
Albert: The CFA Research Challenge has been a huge training for me. I have learned a lot about valuation and the banking industry, but the most valuable thing I learned was how important it is to have a good team. Our team was really talented, and each of us had different personalities and skills. However, far from being a source of argument, these differences were our main strength. The commitment of the team is crucial to success – we put in 70 hours in the final 6 days before the deadline, and we all were willing to help each other at any time.
How did the experience prepare you for your future career?
Paulina: On the one hand, I developed the hard skills to value a bank in the middle of a pandemic and a major merger. 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”.
Albert: I now feel much more confident with my knowledge in the field. The CFA Research Challenge required us to be accurate in our calculations and critical in our conclusions, and it pushed us to dig deeply in academic concepts that we may not have seen before. Architects and graphic designers have portfolios with their projects and, for me, the CFA Research Challenge is the same for finance professionals. This experience is a way to demonstrate my capabilities to my future boss.
Would you recommend participating in the CFA Research Challenge to future students?
Paulina: Yes, I would recommend the experience 100%! I would not want to miss a minute of the Challenge and I would recommend it to everyone looking to go the extra mile. Although it was challenging at times, it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
Albert: I would strongly recommend participating – it is a really intense experience that truly pushes your limits and requires a lot of effort and time, but it is well worth it. One of the reasons why I feel so proud of having been a part of the Challenge is the growth I see when I compare my knowledge at the beginning of the experience to what I know how.