It was a close contest on February 16, 2013, at the Cleveland City Club. Only 1.3 points separated first and second place in the local CFA Institute’s Research Challenge, an annual educational initiative that promotes best practices in equity research through hands-on mentoring and intensive training in company analysis and presentation skills. The Boler School of Business research challenge team fell just short of the coveted first place title, coming in second. Team members included William Butler, Vincent Kopen, Nicholas Gabriele, Daniel Imfeld, and Jonathan Morris with advisors, Anthony Aveni, executive-in-residence, and Gary Porter, associate professor in the Boler School of Business.

The original lineup for the local CFA Institute Research Challenge included contestant teams from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, Youngstown State University, University of Mount Union, Hiram College, Walsh University, and The University of Findlay. Teams developed research materials over the course of several months.

All the participating teams were charged with the task of researching the same corporation – Lincoln Electric. The Boler team honed their quantitative and analysis skills by projecting Lincoln Electric’s income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flow 10 years forward. “The Boler team completed this projection so they could get an understanding of the three items on which fundamental valuation is based: the size, timing, and certainty of future cash flows,” said Aveni. “Every business discipline came into play. Students had to draw upon their knowledge of a variety of business areas and incorporate quantitative, report writing, and presentation skills into their analysis.”

The competition culminated with the final presentations. Each team had to defend its valuation work in front of a panel of seasoned capital market industry practitioners. “This is about as close as you get to a mock boardroom presentation,” said Aveni. “This team of Boler students was poised and professional and did an outstanding job.”

The CFA Society of Cleveland, part of the CFA Institute, sponsored this local research challenge. Local winners progress to one of the four regional competitions: New York; Americas; Asia Pacific; and Europe, Middle East, Africa. For the Americas, Cleveland’s region, this year’s competition will be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Winners of the regional competitions then advance to the global final held in London, England, where one champion will be crowned.