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Bound for New York City

UMD LSBE students (from left) David Brandmire, Tyler Hendrickson, Jake Newsom, Grant Fleagle, Tanner Steele, with LSBE Dean Amy Hietapelto, and director Joe Artim
February 28, 2019

One of two LSBE Financial Markets teams celebrates their current victory with sites set on the next round. 

(from left) David Brandmire, Tyler Hendrickson, Jake Newsom, Grant Fleagle, Tanner Steele, LSBE Dean Amy Hietapelto, Joe Artim

A Labovitz School’s Financial Markets Program team won the Upper Midwest Competition of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute’s Annual Research Challenge on February 21 and advances to the Americas Regional competition in New York, N.Y., in April.

The America’s Regional final will pit the LSBE team against 50+ other teams from universities in North America, Central America, and South America that have won their respective local CFA Research Challenges.

LSBE’s Grant Fleagle, Jake Newson, Tyler Hendrickson, and Tanner Steele successfully defended their financial research and analysis on Bio-Techne Corporation and earned their place in the regional competition. Bio-Techne, which was selected by the Twin Cities’ CFA Society as the subject company and is headquartered in Minneapolis, is a leading healthcare company engaged in the development, manufacture, and sale of biotechnology reagents and instruments for the research and clinical diagnostic markets.

While LSBE sends a team to the Americas, two teams from the school actually competed at the local event against teams from four states. The top five teams, judged accordingly by their written report, were invited to present and defend their findings to a panel of CFA charter-holding industry judges. The final round was between the two LSBE (UMD) teams and teams from Bethel College, North Dakota State University, and University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management Graduate School.

 “I am extremely proud of both our teams!” said Joe Artim, director of the LSBE Financial Markets Program and the team’s faculty mentor. “Both teams put in an incredible amount of time on this project sacrificing weekends, holidays, and normal week nights in analyzing the subject company Bio-Techne. I am very excited for our winning team but also saddened by the defeat of our other team. Both teams put their hearts and souls into their analysis and worked through challenges and adversity during this process. I deeply admire that fact that our teams, though part of the same program, chose to protect the integrity of their work by working completely independent of each other, and to this day, they have not read or seen the other team’s research, analysis, or presentation. The true competitive nature of this event has strengthened our resolve as a program, and we are honored to represent our program, school, university, and local area again at the Americas Region final in New York City!

 “Since the beginning of our involvement in the CFA Research Challenge in 2011, we have fielded many talented teams, and it’s extremely gratifying to know that our teams are capable of competing at the highest levels in this competition. Last year’s team captured the local title, the Americas’ Region title, and ultimately competed in the Global finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last April. Over 1,100 university teams compete each year in this competition attracting some of the world’s brightest and best young talent, and to have our team finish in the top five is truly a testament to our program.”

"The effort and energy Grant, Tyler, Jake, and Tanner put into the CFA Research Challenge was inspiring,” said David Brandmire, CFA, Vice President, Senior Fixed Income Analyst at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis, Minn., and the team’s industry mentor. “They showed true dedication to understanding the subject company, Bio-Techne, and ensuring that their analysis took into account quantitative and qualitative factors of the firm and the industry. I congratulate them for winning the local competition and wish them the best at the Americas Regional competition.”

Teams from LSBE have advanced to the local final each year and have now captured three consecutive titles and four in the last five years. Teams have also finished as runners up four times in the event’s nine-year history.

“We always seem to field talented teams who compete very well in this type of competition,” added Artim. “This year’s teams both did a remarkable job with the project and excelled in their delivery of their results at the local final. The CFA Research Challenge is designed to help develop best practices for future investment professionals and provide the opportunity for experienced practitioners to give back to the industry’s next generation. This year’s CFA Research Challenge was a huge success again!”  

Quotes from the student CFA team members:

"Having the opportunity to participate in the CFA Research Challenge was an incredible learning experience for me and my teammates and we could not have done it without our mentorship from Joe Artim and David Brandmire, CFA, who have been with us the entire journey. Being able to represent the University of Minnesota Duluth and the LSBE Financial Markets Program through the competition has been an honor. Watching us grow as a team, overcoming challenges that faced us, and seeing the commitment given to many days of extensive research has been, to say the least, very rewarding. I would like to recognize the amazing support group we have through our alumni community, current classmates, family, and friends who have helped us along the way, as well as the other teams that participated in the local competition who put in a commendable amount of time and research and provided formidable competition. We are very excited to present our investment thesis at the America's level in New York and aspire to follow in last year's team's footsteps of success." - Grant Fleagle, CFA team member

“The CFA Institute Research Challenge has been an amazing learning opportunity for our team. We were able to get immersed into the research process and practice the skills we will be using in our careers after our graduation from the University of Minnesota Duluth. We faced adversity and very strong competition, including another team of our classmates at UMD. We put in countless hours and late nights working as hard as we could to deliver a quality recommendation that has allowed us to advance to the Americas Regional in New York City. We couldn’t have achieved this accomplishment without academic mentorship from Joe Artim, industry mentorship from David Brandmire, and the dedication of our whole team. We are all honored and excited to have the opportunity to represent the University of Minnesota Duluth on the national level.” – Tyler Hendrickson, CFA team member

“The CFA Research Challenge has been an immense learning opportunity for our whole team. Getting to leverage what we have already learned in the LSBE Financial Markets Program was great, but we really progressed as a group thanks to the challenge. We also learned a lot from our mentors Joe Artim and David Brandmire, CFA, who were an immense help to our team. They kept us focused through all of the adversity that challenged us and guided us, while letting us make mistakes along the way in order to grow and learn. After every challenge we would get up, dust off, refocus, reengage, and go again, to loosely quote Jocko Willink. The learning curve was a challenge at the beginning, but in the end, I believe we became better analysts and learned more than we could have ever imagined. We faced a lot of great competition in our region including the other team from UMD. I think this has really prepared us. We are excited to get after it again as we head to New York. Facing another extremely talented team from our school was great, I think without them, we wouldn’t have performed as well. They challenged us to be better, and I know they killed it out there.” – Jake Newsom, CFA team member

"The CFA Research Challenge has been such an incredible learning experience. After spending countless hours perfecting our report and recommendation, it was very humbling to hear our team announced as the winner of the Upper Midwest Regional Competition. The opportunity to represent the University of Minnesota Duluth and the LSBE Financial Markets Program at the Americas Regional Final is an absolute honor. After many long nights and early mornings of doing what we love, I am eager for our team to further develop our knowledge and bring our investment recommendation to New York with hopes of following the footsteps of last year’s team who represented the University of Minnesota Duluth on the global stage." — Tanner Steele, CFA team member

Learn more about LSBE's Financial Markets Program