Walsh University Wins First Place in CFA Institute Research Challenge

First Win for DeVille School of Business Student Team Since 2010 

Walsh University recently won first place in the 2023 CFA Institute Research Challenge hosted by the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society of Cleveland, an organization that promotes professional development, ethics, and awareness through outreach and engagement with the financial community. The team representing Walsh’s DeVille School of Business beat out five finalists including Kent State, Bowling Green, John Carroll and Baldwin Wallace, and is now preparing to compete in the regional competition in April in Chicago.

Each year, teams of three to five undergraduate and graduate students commit upwards of 200 hours to preparing and competing in a comprehensive and applied case study competition.  Team members representing finance and accounting majors include Jessica Varnis, Cameron Gregory, Megan Maxim, Oskar Johannessen and Lucas Jorstad.

Dr. James Falter, Director of Graduate Programs and Associate Professor of Finance, served as the academic advisor who provided insights into the different financials models and metrics that can be used to evaluate a company. According to team member Megan Maxim, "Dr. Falter not only provided feedback about the technical elements of our report, but he helped us think critically about our company and to view things from a financial analyst's perspective. He also helped us mentally prepare for the presentation and gave us the confidence that we could perform well during the competition."

With hands-on mentoring of Dr. Falter and industry advisor Nicholas Perini, CFA, vice president and partner at Beese Fulmer Investment Management in Canton, the competition was a rewarding learning experience for all. The Walsh team attributes their success to getting to know each other and their strengths, working collaboratively to write the paper and prepare the presentation, and the positive energy and passion they had for the project. 

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a competition which tests the analytic, valuation, report writing, and presentation skills of university students. The project involved two parts: a written valuation report and a formal presentation of their defense to a panel of judges. The subject company is always a local/regional, publicly traded company.  This year it was Parker Hannifin. 

This is the first “win” since 2010 for the University. Over the past several years, Walsh has had very competitive teams that placed second.  The competition often includes larger schools such as John Carroll, The University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Bowling Green University, Gannon University and others. 

The Finance program at Walsh holds university affiliation with the CFA Institute. This recognizes our program, its outcomes and enables Walsh University to grant students/graduates scholarships for the CFA examination. To learn more about the CFA Institute Research Challenge, click here.