BU undergrad team—competing against MBAs from Harvard, MIT, Tuck, and more—wins New England Investment Research Challenge

in School, Students, Undergraduate Students
April 13th, 2010

Team then places 3rd in the Americas


Mukesh Jagota (SMG’09), Ashan Walpita (SMG’09), Josh Enzer (SMG'09, CAS’09), Jeff Li (CAS'09, ENG’09), and Scott Stewart, Faculty Director, MSIM ProgramOn February 10, 2009, a team of four Boston University School of Management undergraduates won the New England Investment Research Challenge (NEIRC) sponsored by the Boston Security Analysts Society (BSAS) and Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFA).

Among the teams competing were MBAs from Babson (two-time winners who topped the global competition in 2006), Boston College, Harvard Business School, and MIT Sloan School of Management.  BU’s team was one of only two undergraduate teams, and the sole undergraduate team in the finals.

The winning Boston University undergraduate team members are:

  • Presenters: Josh Enzer (’09), Jeff Li (’09), Mukesh Jagota (’09), and Ashan Walpita (’09)
  • Faculty Rep and Team Manager: Ulyana Hrudzko (12/08)
  • Alternate: Ishar Sawhney (’10)

In the next round, March 21 at the North & South America competition in New York City, the School of Management team placed third overall out of fifteen regional winners, again competing with many teams which were MBAs.

Winning students in elite honor program modeled after School’s MSIM curriculum

The five teammates comprise an elite undergraduate honors program (modeled after the School’s MS in Investment Management curriculum) at Boston University School of Management.  In this program, students are not allowed to use Wall Street research, but must stick to the fundamentals of equity research—a method preferred most notably by Fidelity analysts—in which quantification of all findings is the central goal. All research must be translated into dollars, and students must be able to explain their calculations down to the penny—a  rigorous quantification training that gave them an edge over their competition.

“This incredible accomplishment validates the idea that you can teach young people in the classroom to successfully use the most advanced practices in the investment industry. Our students were the only undergraduates to make the finals, and it is a challenge to display the maturity of a thirty-something giving a presentation, when you’re only 21 years old.  However, it was also clear that their abilities to present the numbers, digest the rapid pace in the Q&A, and use presentation technology were superior.  Already we’re looking forward to next year.” — Scott Stewart, winning team advisor and Faculty Director, MSIM Program

Rigorous attention to research differentiates this challenge from others

Explains the CFA Institute:

“Over the course of the competition, university teams of three to five students each are mentored by industry professionals in writing an equity research report on a publicly traded company. The teams then present their findings to a distinguished panel of experts.”

The Institute also explains that the “Challenge consists of the following components:

  • Analysis of a public company – Teams research a publicly traded company, and company management presents to the team and participants in a question-and-answer session.
  • Mentoring by a professional research analyst – Each team works with an investment professional who mentors the team on the research process and reviews their report.
  • Writing a research report – Students produce an initiation of coverage report on the chosen company. The report is reviewed and scored by a group of judges.
  • Presentation of research to a high-profile panel of experts – The team with the highest combined report and presentation score is the winner.
  • Advancement to the CFA Institute Global Investment Research Challenge – The winners of the four regional challenges advance to compete in the global finale on April 2, 2009 in London.”

The panelists for the Americas Challenge were:

  • Kay Ryan Booth, CFA – managing director at J.P. Morgan Chase
  • Bud Haslett, CFA − chief executive officer for Miller Tabak Capital Management and Director of Option Analytics for Miller Tabak+Co., LLC
  • Ashwani Kaul – director of research for Thomson Reuters
  • Tom Keene, CFA – editor-at-large, Bloomberg News; host, Bloomberg Surveillance
  • Thomas Madsen, CFA – former global head of equity for both UBS Global Asset Management and JPMorgan Asset Management
  • John Rogers, CFA – CFA Institute president and CEO
“That a team of our undergraduate students would outperform MBA students from MIT, Harvard, BC, and Babson is yet more testimony to the unique caliber of our undergraduate business program, which the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business has ranked among the strongest for accredited institutions.” — Louis E. Lataif, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean, Boston University School of Management

The BU team will be recognized at the Boston Society Annual meeting this April, where they will be provided their own table.  They were also invited to the NYSE floor during a recent opening.

More about the Global Investment Research Challenge

Related article from BU Today: “SMG Student Analysts Tops in New England Contest