USI students make their mark at the CFA Institute Research Challenge

The finalists during the online event
The finalists during the online event

Institutional Communication Service

Alessandro, Irene, Nabeel, Simon, and Xavier: these are the USI Master in Finance students who, at the twelfth CFA Institute Research Challenge in Switzerland, made their mark by stepping on the (online) podium right behind fellow teams from the Universities of Zurich (2nd place) and Bern (1st place). This year the challenge saw 32 teams from 12 universities focusing their analysis and related investment recommendations on Temenos, the Geneva-based firm listed on the Swiss stock exchange and specialising in enterprise software for banks and financial services.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual competition between teams of students in preparing an investment case consisting of a detailed research report and a presentation of a listed Swiss company. Throughout the challenge, students receive support also from industry mentors, and present their results in front of a panel of senior investment professionals.

Since autumn 2020, the five USI Master in Finance students – under the guidance of Professor Eric Nowak and lecturer Dr. Biljana Seistrajkova – have been meeting regularly to learn about and implement the work steps of a financial analyst: from the acquisition and evaluation of data to the preparation of a significant report with a recommendation to buy, hold or sell. This year, they also had to take into account sustainability criteria (ESG) in the elaboration of their recommendations.

"This intense-effort group exercise represents a unique opportunity for our graduate students to not only apply their knowledge acquired in class, but also to gain first-hand experience in the investment world and to interact intensively with investment professionals and CFA charterholders in a collaborative team challenge with other Swiss universities", says Prof. Nowak, Full Professor at USI and Director of the Institute of Finance (Faculty of Economics).

Simon Jonsson, team leader and second-year graduate student at the USI Master in Finance, says: "The key to our success was our discipline, dedication and hard work. We walked the extra mile to get a deep understanding of the business, that gave us a competitive advantage when it was time to build an investment proposition and to value the company".

Global Investment Research is an elective course offered in the 2nd year of the USI Master in Finance programme. "This year, 15 students (3 teams) took the course, at the end of which study credits (6 ECTS) are assigned based on the evaluation of the written report and analysis presentation. The best performing team, or the 'local winner', then proceeds to the Swiss competition", explains Dr. Seistrajkova.