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Finance students participate in global stock market competition

December 07, 2011 12:00AM

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CFA Challenge team members, l-r: Yana Kirichenko, Felipe Neves, Brandon Humbard, Barbara Cortes, Dr. Kevin Bracker (faculty adviser), and Alena Lagunina.

A team of Pittsburg State University finance students is taking part in an international competition focused on analyzing the stock market - while picking up skills they need for their future careers in business.

Kevin Bracker, a professor of finance at PSU, has been advising a team of five undergraduates this fall who are competing in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Challenge, an international competition that tests students on their ability to prepare investment analyst reports for companies as well as professionally deliver their findings. Investment analyst reports are usually prepared quarterly for stockholders and other decision makers to give them an up-to-date view of the company’s financial outlook and investment potential.

Pittsburg State’s team is competing under the division of the Kansas City CFA society. They are going up against teams from the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Central Missouri State University, and Missouri State University.

All of the teams are analyzing the same company - Garmin, a manufacturer of GPS components and devices for fitness, marine, aviation, and auto. The PSU team has been busy collecting information to prepare their final 10-page report, which is due for presentation in Kansas City next February.

“This has been an eye-opening experience,” said Alena Lagunina, a senior economics and finance major from Russia. “It’s given me a deeper understanding of what equity analysis is about and how knowledge received in the classroom can be applied in real life.”

As part of their work, the team is creating a detailed model to project earnings and forecast sales and profit margins.

“This is an excellent tool for bridging classroom knowledge and professional-level work,” concurred Bracker, who encouraged students to form a team when he learned of the competition this summer. “Even if they don’t end up going into this field as a career, it teaches them what they need to do to be top-quality.”

Bracker, who as adviser is limited to only 10 hours of assistance to the team, said the students will each be putting 100-150 hours of time into the project - and that he hopes they’ll be rewarded for their efforts during the presentation phase this spring. The top teams will go on to compete regionally and globally.

“I think our strength as a team is the quality of students we have,” Bracker said. “They’re motivated, they work hard, they’re responsible. This is definitely a resume-builder for them.”

©2011 Pittsburg State University