Illinois Tech Continues Winning Ways in Equity Research Competition



By Scott Lewis

Illinois Institute of Technology’s run of success in the Chicago-area competition of the CFA Institute Research Challenge continues. For the ninth time in the last 10 years, a team of Stuart School of Business students advanced to the next round of this global equity research competition with its recent win over local rivals, this year including teams from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, and DePaul University, among others.

The CFA Challenge annually draws teams from more than 1,100 universities across six continents. The next step for the Illinois Tech team will be the Midwest Sub-Regional competition on March 21 to take on teams that won local contests in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.

The team members include students in Stuart’s nationally ranked Master of Science in Finance program, including Umer Baloch, Dilum Meegoda, Edward Paros, and Mohamed Shamel; team member Benjamin Barber is in the university's renowned Master of Mathematical Finance program. Three of the students are also completing undergraduate degrees through Illinois Tech’s Accelerated Master’s Program; Paros and Shamel are business administration majors and Meegoda is majoring in computer science. Senior Lecturer of Finance Michael Rybak serves as the team’s faculty adviser.

In addition to their excellence in the Chicago local competitions, Illinois Tech teams mentored by Rybak have advanced to the CFA Challenge Americas Region Finals three times in the past decade, most recently in 2020, and one year made it all the way to the Global Finals.

The CFA Challenge places students in the role of research analysts and then rigorously tests their knowledge and skills through judging by top investment professionals from the CFA Society.

Each team conducts in-depth research and a valuation analysis on a publicly traded company—TransUnion was the firm designated for teams in the Chicago competition—and prepares a comprehensive equity research report, including a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold the stock. After the reports are graded, the teams present their analysis and answer the judges’ questions at the virtual competitions at the local, regional, and global levels of the CFA Challenge.

Teams in the United States that advance from the sub-regional round will compete in the Americas Region Semifinals on April 15–16, with the Americas Final and the Global Final following on April 21–22.

[Clockwise from top left] Umer Baloch, Mohamed Shamel, Edward Paros, Dilum Meegoda, and Benjamin Barber (Photo provided)