Marian University Students Victorious at Certified Financial Analyst Competition

by News Release | Apr 13, 2022

Four Marian University students emerged victorious in the Indiana competition for the 2022 Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge. The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics. Each student is tested on their analytic, valuation, report writing, and presentation skills. They gain real-world experience as they assume the role of a research analyst.

The Marian University team was tasked to produce an equity research report for the Connecticut -based company GXO Logistics, and to present their investment recommendation before a panel of judges consisting of Indianapolis Certified Financial Analyst society members who are certified financial analysts.  

Austin Crites, the team’s industry mentor commented, “Our Marian team stood out from the field, delivering a presentation marked by thorough analysis and unique insights but punctuated with confidence." 

It’s that confidence that Fergus Washington-Smith, a junior from Hamilton, New Zealand who’s studying business analytics and finance, used in his analytical skills. Washington-Smith created financial models and valuation techniques. “It was really challenging,” he said. “I had to create what are simulations involving a Monte Carlo simulation, DuPont, and various other methods to value a company,” he added. 

Other team members include Lisa Cantú, a junior studying business analytics and finance from Monterrey, Mexico developed an extensive understanding of the company and the overall industry it operates within. She also identified the competitive positioning for GXO to help perform a company analysis. 

Olivia Armstrong, senior studying management and finance from Bend, Oregon, was responsible for researching and evaluating the business risks that face GXO. This involved evaluating all factors that contribute to the continuous operations of GXO and ranking them on a heat map.

Carter Kasianowicz, sophomore studying finance from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was responsible for analyzing GXO’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). This involved creating an ESG scorecard that could be compared to other players in the industry to see GXO’s strengths and weaknesses while developing a stronger understanding of the factors that impact a company's ESG score. 

Bruce C. Gonyea, the team’s faculty advisor commented, “Our students performed remarkably in the finals against Purdue University’s graduate school team exhibiting great maturity and poise,” he continued. “But what made me most proud was after the winner was announced, the entire team walked over and shook the hands of everyone on the Purdue team. These students truly represent the Marian culture and our Franciscan sponsorship values.”  

The Marian University team was one of 10 teams representing Indiana and now advances to the Chicago regional competition, which includes teams from The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Marquette, and the University of Minnesota. The organization currently engages more than 6,000 students from over 1,000 universities on a worldwide basis.


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