UB students advance in global CFA Institute Research Challenge

A group of top-performing Business and Finance students from UB have advanced to the subregional finals of the worldwide CFA Society Research Challenge. Pictured from left to right are: Raschard McKinney, Trust Officer, J.P. Morgan Bahamas, Tiasha Lewis, Rashorn Fraser, Courtney John, and Angelo Butler, Senior Analyst, CFAL. Not pictured: Shania Darville.

A team of students from the University of the Bahamas (UB) has been selected as a subregional finalist in the Atlantic Islands division of the CFA Institute Research Challenge. This global intercollegiate competition offers students the unique opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world practice in equity research. The UB team, comprised of Shania Darville, Courtney John, Rashorn Fraser, and Tiasha Lewis, has advanced to the subregional presentation round of the competition.

The winning team will earn a spot to compete at the virtual Americas regional finals for a chance to participate in the global final against students from the Asia-Pacific realm and the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa). Each research challenge is organized by the CFA Institute and local CFA Society volunteers mentor and support students through the process. Raschard McKinney, Trust Officer at J.P. Morgan Bahamas and Angelo Butler, Senior Research Analyst at CFAL, served as industry mentor and faculty advisor (respectively) for the UB team this year.

“The students submitted a research paper on January 4 in which they provided detailed analysis of a company by applying their classroom knowledge in a practical scenario,” Mr. Butler explained. A panel of research professionals, portfolio managers, and investment officers from some of the top firms in the world evaluated the submissions of the students against papers presented from groups from across the region.

On February 20, the UB students will compete against three groups of students from other regional universities including University College of The Cayman Islands, University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados, and University of Technology, Jamaica in the sub-regional challenge to compete for a spot at the Americas semifinals in mid-April.

The students shared their insights from the experience. “The CFA Institute Research Challenge has allowed my team and I to gain real-world experience with financially analyzing publicly traded companies,” said Shania Darville, a senior studying Finance. “In addition, this research challenge has given me the opportunity to communicate and learn
from financial professionals.”

Courtney John, another fourth-year Finance major who aims to become a Financial Analyst, described how the Challenge has expanded her grasp of how a business works. “The entire project helped me to gain a greater understanding of how to analyze the inner workings of a company. Furthermore, the project has shown me the importance of diversification. As I examined how major areas of the company were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I came to realize that smaller areas became big revenue earners for the company during this
critical time.”

Rashorn Fraser, a senior majoring in Economics and Finance, shared one of the big lessons he learned during this process. “When analyzing this company, or any company, I’ve learned that the smallest details spoke the loudest and these are what will give you a true outlook on how a company is performing. Companies today are starting to take a more purposeful approach with how they’re run, including more social responsibilities within their operations and this company was an example of that.”

When asked about her experience, senior Tiasha Lewis, who is studying Banking, Finance, and Spanish, explained, “My greatest challenge was time. I had to juggle college classes, research projects, exams, Student Government Association duties, work, tutor sessions, etc. while trying to break down the annual reports for the company. Luckily, this challenge was solved by having a great team of students who, together, were able to complete the analysis. Teamwork made the dream work!”

Mr. McKinney expressed his excitement about their achievement. “I am enormously proud of the students for this accomplishment. I’ve had the opportunity to see them sit on and participate in a call with executives of the multinational listed company that they were reviewing. As Investment Analysts, they heard projections and plans for the company and tied these with their qualitative and quantitative review of the stock of the business.

For the University of The Bahamas, their performance demonstrates the caliber of students that the University produces and its ability to position students to stand on international platforms.” Mr. Butler shared his thoughts about how he believes the students will benefit from the participating in the Challenge. “I believe that this provides students with a great opportunity to see what professionals responsible for making investment decisions analyze on an ongoing basis. I hope this experience will help them not only in their careers but also as they make investment decisions for themselves as individuals going forward.