As the Fall semester wound down and most students took a well-deserved break, a dedicated group of Finance, Banking & Insurance students decided to put their knowledge and skills to the test by participating in various prestigious competitions. Their commitment to excellence and passion for their fields of study led them to spend their break working on challenging projects that not only enriched their understanding of the financial world but also showcased their talent and determination.
CFA Institute Research Challenge: Analyzing Nucor
One group of students delved into equity research by participating in the CFA Institute Research Challenge. Their mission? To analyze and prepare an in-depth analyst report and investment recommendation for Nucor (NYSE: NUE), a leading steel and steel products manufacturer, by January 20th. This internationally recognized competition brings together students from over 1,000 schools worldwide and provides students with the opportunity to apply their financial analysis skills as they assume the role of a research analyst. The Broyhill Fellows team, comprising members of the Bowden Investment Group - Brianna Gilmore, Corbin Lammers, Derek Mahato, Ashley Meacham, and Maximus Pavone - embraced this challenge wholeheartedly as they scrutinized Nucor's financial statements, assessed its competitive positioning, developed dynamic three-statement valuation models, and provided an investment recommendation, all while adhering to the highest industry standards. The team is eagerly anticipating the second stage of the competition, where they will vie to be the North Carolina State Champion by defending their analysis and recommendation before a panel of industry experts. If successful at the state level, the team can advance to the Southeastern, Americas, and Global Finals, competing against top universities from around the world. Their dedication to producing an exceptional, comprehensive analyst report demonstrates their commitment to excellence in financial research.
Spencer-RIMS RISK Challenge: Evaluating Municipal Risks
Another team of students took on the RISK Challenge, an international case competition sponsored by the Spencer Educational Foundation and the Risk & Insurance Management Society (RIMS) annually. The team, composed of Carolina Davidson, Tom Phillips, Caroline Reeder, and Ashley Weisser, and coached by Dr. Lori Medders, spent the Winter Break conducting enterprise risk management research and formulating real-world solutions for problems uncovered. This year’s case champion is the government of the City of Tukwila, Washington, a municipality located between SEATAC Airport and Seattle. The team was tasked in the first stage of the competition with submitting a report of recommendations on January 12th that included the risk treatment recommendations along with supporting risk identification, assessment, and analysis findings. The work required a deep-dive analysis of the city government’s strategic, operational, hazard and financial conditions, risk drivers, and critical uncertainties. The detailed content of the report remains proprietary as the team awaits the second stage of the competition – a formal presentation and Q&A on the team’s recommendations and supporting analysis at the Annual RIMS Conference & Exhibition to be held this year in San Diego, California.
UGA's Stock Pitch Competition: Crafting Winning Strategies
Two separate teams of students set their sights on the University of Georgia's Stock Pitch Competition. Bowden Investment Group members Aaron Atwell, Reece Fisher, and Luciano Zito pitched Lamb Weston (NYSE: LW), a premier potato and fries manufacturer, while Parker Sciolino, Hudson Smith, and Victor Tovar pitched Cloudflare (NYSE: NET), a cloud security and performance solution provider. These students’ objective was to propose compelling stock pitch slide decks by January 12th that would stand out in a competitive field. Crafting a winning stock pitch requires a deep understanding of financial markets, keen analytical skills, and the ability to communicate complex ideas effectively. These students meticulously researched their chosen stocks, analyzed financial data, and constructed persuasive presentations that highlighted the investment potential of their chosen companies. Their dedication to mastering the art of stock pitching showcased their ambition to excel in the world of finance.
Catastrophe Insurance Underwriting Profitability: Investigating Company Loss Performance
One more FB&I team focused their break time on the completion of a months-long consulting project in data analytics with an insurance underwriter. AppRISE (Appalachian Risk Initiative for Student Engagement) is an ongoing extracurricular cluster of faculty, students, and industry professionals who collaborate on research and consulting assignments in the field of risk management. AppRISE members who actively participated in the catastrophe underwriting performance project include Omar Gonzalez (project lead), Marcella Gianni, Elizabeth Haithcock, Shahakar Patel, and Dr. Lori Medders. Their work culminated in an end-of-year report and presentation to the catastrophe underwriting team and company top management who provided the data for the study.
In a world where finance, banking, and insurance play a crucial role in shaping economic outcomes, these students have demonstrated their readiness to take on the challenges of the financial services sector. They are a testament to the idea that learning extends beyond the classroom, and real-world challenges offer invaluable opportunities for growth. As they return to their regular academic schedules, these students carry with them not only the knowledge gained during their break but also the experience, resilience, and determination that will undoubtedly serve them well as they pursue careers in the dynamic and competitive world of finance, banking, and insurance. We celebrate their achievements and look forward to witnessing their continued success.