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College of Business CFA Team Wins Regional Championship

March 6, 2017

CONTACT:    CONTACT: Dr. Anne Macy, 806-651-2523, amacy@wtamu.edu

College of Business CFA Team Wins Regional Championship


CANYON, Texas—The West Texas A&M University CFA Research Challenge team won the 2017 Southwest U.S. Championship at University of Houston on Feb. 25 and will advance to compete for the Western Hemisphere Championship in Seattle this April.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge—Southwest U.S. is an annual stock research competition hosted by the Charted Financial Analysts’ (CFA) societies of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma and part of the Global CFA Institute Research Challenge. With more than 26 universities participating, the Southwest U.S. is the second largest CFA competition in the world. The principles applied in the CFA Research Challenge are (1) core knowledge of equity investments; (2) leadership, management, and communication skills; and (3) standards, ethics and regulations.

This year, each team researched U.S. Physical Therapy (USPH), a developer and operator of physical and occupational therapy clinics headquartered in Houston. Based on the quality of the written stock recommendation report, 10 finalist teams were chosen to participate in the oral presentation round at the regional finals. During the oral presentation competition, the WTAMU team defeated competition from Rice University, Texas A&M University, Texas State University and the University of Central Oklahoma. Runner-up is University of Texas–Dallas, who defeated Baylor University, Texas Christian University, University of Dallas and University of Texas- Arlington. 

“In a highly competitive environment, our students rose to the challenge,” Dr. Amjad Abdullat, associate dean of College of Business Undergraduate Programs, said.

Previous Southwest regional champions include Southern Methodist University in 2016, West Texas A&M University in 2015, Rice University in 2014, Texas State University in 2013, University of Texas-San Antonio in 2012, Rice University in 2011, University of Houston in 2010 and Texas A&M University in 2009.

“The students analyzed and valued the company, wrote a thorough stock analysis report, presented their recommendation and answered questions from a prestigious industry-judging panel,” Dr. Barbara Wang, Gene Edwards Professor of Banking and faculty sponsor, said. “We are so proud of our students and the opportunity to move to the finals is a great achievement.”

The team of four students worked intensely for five months on the valuation. “You really learn about the entire industry. There is always one more variable to consider. You have to consider hundreds of variables to find the one that actually matters,” Kelsey Pruitt, a finance and management major from Amarillo, said.   

“The CFA Challenge tests you mentally and physically. You have to work as a team. Every time I wanted to quit, I couldn’t,” Stefan Schlabs, a finance and economics major from Hereford, said. “We had to perform under pressure—to know what to say and when to say it. It is hundreds of hours of research and writing that comes down to a 20-minute presentation.”

“It helped me connect all areas of business. They each have an effect on each other. You have to be adaptable and look at the firm from many angles,” said Niall Pratt, a graduate student in economics and finance from Dublin, Ireland. 

“A lot of hard work went into winning the regional championship. The competition as a chance to showcase what our students have learned during their time in the College of Business at West Texas A&M,” Dr. Anne Macy, Gene Edwards Professor of Finance and faculty adviser, said.

Team members are listed by hometown or country, classification and major.

Joel Klein, undergraduate student pursing the B.B.A. in accounting
Kelsey Pruett, undergraduate student pursing the B.B.A. in finance and management

Stefan Schlabs, undergraduate student pursing the B.B.A. in finance and economics

Dublin, Ireland
Niall Pratt, graduate student pursuing the M.S. in finance and economics



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