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Financial Markets Team Heading to Malaysia

March 26, 2018

Five students in LSBE’s Financial Markets Program have earned a trip to Kuala Lumpur. 

The students, Ryan Kimbrel, Reed Leonidas, Nawal Mirza, Frank Takkinen, and Ryan Woitalla, will be competing in the global finals of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge on April 27. 

The team’s journey to Malaysia started with a February win in Minneapolis at the Upper Midwest Competition where the team beat sixteen other teams from four states. From there, LSBE’s team advanced to the Americas Regional competition in Boston on March 19 and 20. With their presentation of an extensive financial analysis of the subject business, Fastenal Company, the team won again capturing the B Regional, beating out over 26 other teams from schools in North and South America and securing their place in the global finals.

 It’s a historical accomplishment as the win is the first time an upper Midwest team has advanced to the global finals.

“This is an incredible coup, an amazing accomplishment, as well as external validation for our team, Financial Markets Program, and LSBE,” said Dean Amy B. Hietapelto. “It has been amazing watching Financial Markets Program Director Joe Artim’s teams over the years. He always has top-notch students who excel. Seeing this team reach the global finals has all of us in LSBE thrilled.”

 The team has worked hard all year in preparation of the CFA Challenge under the guidance of Artim, faculty advisor, and Josh Hill, industry mentor for the Research Challenge competition.

This is the second straight year that LSBE’s team has advanced to the Americas Regional and the third year in four years since CFA Minnesota society began hosting a local competition eight years ago.

“The CFA Institute Research Challenge has provided us with a memory of a lifetime," said LSBE team members in a special email edition of the CFA Society of Minnesota newsletter. "We are incredibly thankful for the support we have received from our alumni and the industry, and [we] are extremely honored to represent the University of Minnesota Duluth and CFA Society of Minnesota at the Global Level! We’d also like to thank our advisor Joe Artim and industry mentor, Josh Hill, CFA, for the irreplaceable help they have given us throughout this process.”

In the emailed newsletter, Ben Johnson, CFA, CFAMN board member and coordinator of the local Research Challenge judging finals said, “As a judge at the CFA Upper Midwest Research Challenge, I was impressed by your in-depth knowledge and analysis of the selected company (Fastenal) and the energy you brought to your presentation. This differentiated your team from the other strong finalists.”

The CFA Challenge impacts 3,500 member volunteers, 5,000 students from over 1,000 universities globally. For more details about the Research Challenge including viewing the live global final round, go to the CFA Institute website at and click on University Relations under Community.

Learn more about the Financial Markets Program

Image above: (from left)  Ryan Woitalla, Reed Leonidas, Nawal Mirza, Frank Takkinen, and Ryan Kimbrel.