CFA Investment Challenge (FIN 491)


Course Description

A team of up to five students will conduct an in-depth valuation assessment of a publicly-traded North Carolina corporation. The UNCW student team will compete against other North Carolina Universities, and the North Carolina competition is part of a global competition sponsored by the CFA Institute.

Students will register for a two-semester hour FIN 491 course during both the Fall and Spring semesters. If both semesters of work are satisfactorily completed, the four semester hours earned will be counted as a 400-level concentration elective within Finance. Thus, these two courses will take the place of one, three-semester hour 400-level concentration elective, of which either two or three are required for each student concentrating in Finance. If only one semester of work is completed, no credit is offered toward the Finance concentration.

Students first develop skills to value a publicly-traded equity security. On approximately October 1 students will receive the name of the subject company and soon after are required to visit the company, accompanied by the instructor, for a half-day meeting. For the remainder of the Fall semester, students work as a team but independent of the instructor to conduct their valuation. Specific deliverables will be due to the instructor every two weeks to confirm progress. The written report (approximately 30 pages) is due at the end of the Fall Semester.

During late January the written report is submitted to the North Carolina CFA Society for judging. Student teams that develop the four top-scoring reports will be invited to State Finals to present and defend their research orally in late February. This event is mandatory for team members and typically requires a Friday night stay in Greensboro prior to a Saturday event. The winning team from the State of North Carolina will be required to travel to National Finals during early April. Global Finals occur in May. Students do not incur the normal expenses of these required trips.

If the UNCW team’s report does not qualify to advance to State Finals, the instructor will create a panel of judges to conduct a similarly rigorous presentation and defense in Wilmington, at approximately the same time that the State Finals are being conducted. 

2018-2019 CFA Team

CFA Investment Team Members 2019The UNCW CFA Investment Challenge team competed against 16 other North Carolina universities and colleges and advanced in the competition to the State Finals, held in Greensboro on February 23, 2019. This is the sixth consecutive year that the UNCW team has advanced to State Finals. Although the UNCW team did not win the competition, the teams performance was stellar as they faced an extremely competitive group of three other institutions. The CFA Investment Challenge is a global competition sponsored by the CFA Institute in which teams of five students create an in-depth valuation of a publicly traded security. The company selected for the North Carolina competition was Lending Tree, a rapidly growing fin-tech company headquartered in Charlotte. Over 1,200 institutions compete each year in this event. The UNCW team estimates that they accumulated approximately 1,250 hours of effort in this years competition, between September 2018 and February 2019. This years team members are Nicholas Blake, Danielle Doyle, Joshua Jones, Alina Ramos-Ruiz, and Ashton Russell. Kudos to this extremely talented group of senior finance students!