Heading to Jordan after winning national research challenge

6 March 2020

A team of students representing BI convinced a panel of industry judges with solid arguments to why investors should buy Oslo listed fish farmer Bakkafrost, and is set to compete against other teams from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East in the regional CFA Research Challenge final in Jordan.

In a tough competition with students from OsloMet and NTNU, one of BI’s two participating teams was announced as winners after impressing the judges in the Q&A session, where they had to answer a number of questions related to their equity research and presentation.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual competition where more than 6000 students from 1100 universities and business schools are tested in equity research, company analysis and presentation skills as if they are practicing analysts.

CFA RC 2020

From the left: Faculty advisor Janis Berzins, Himal Gautam, Mazen Younes, Tiziana Fadda, Francesco Romagnoli, Hannah Breistein and Industry mentor Shirley Dong. 


“The competition has been a tremendous learning experience. We were building on the ideas that we have already seen in our academic program, but this competition was about levelling those skills up and pushing our abilities. Spending over five months researching one company and trying to understand the little details in the industry, the process was very hands-on and exciting,” says Himal Gautam, one of the members on the winning team.

The panel of judges consisted of portfolio managers and analysts from Gjensidigestiftelsen, Danske Bank and Carnegie who evaluated the team’s written research report and presentations, which is the culmination of months of research, interviews with company management, competitors and clients.

CFA RC 2020

“Through small improvements along the process, we believe that this has helped us acquire essential technical and soft skills which will prove useful at the workplace. We have evolved as individuals and even more so as a team. This was the outcome of a collective effort,” says Gautam.


All participating teams receive hands-on mentoring, and intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics delivered through their faculty advisor and a dedicated industry mentor.

The winning team’s industry mentor Shirley Dong from investment banking firm Cleaves Securities, says that research challenge is not only a learning process for the students, but also for her as an advisor.

“I’m inspired by the hard work the students put into this as well as how they grow individually and as a team. I highly recommend every student that wish to pursue a career in finance to join,” says Dong.

Upside potential

Arguing for a solid upside potential in Bakkafrost’s current shareprice due new megatrends, acquisition synergies and product qualities compared to its peers, Chairman of Bakkafrost, Runi M. Hansen, was impressed by the skills of the participants and their understanding of the industry.

CFA RC 2020

“It’s been fantastic to listen to all of you, I have to say to that it’s inspiring for us to get input from the outside and from you who are as students, “ Runi said after listening to the teams presentations.

Jordan next

The EMEA regional final is held April 1 in Jordan, while the global final is held in New York April 22. For the past three consecutive years, students from BI have won the national competition and represented Norway and BI in the regional final.

CFA RC 2020

“We only expect the competition to get tougher and we will need to polish ourselves even more. We will try to consolidate what we have learned so far along with the feedback from our mentors, advisors and classmates to improve on what we have. We will put our best foot forward. Regardless of the competition, we believe that this is a great opportunity and will be a valuable experience,” says Gautam.

About the CFA Institute Research Challenge

The CFA Institute Research Challenge gathers students, investment industry professionals, publicly traded companies, and corporate sponsors together locally, regionally, and globally for an annual competition.

Local CFA member societies and other affiliated groups host local level competitions of the Research Challenge in conjunction with the participating universities. The universities assemble teams of three to five business and finance students who work directly with a company in researching and preparing a company analysis.

The team’s final presentations are locally evaluated by high-profile panels of heads of research, portfolio managers, and chief investment officers from the world’s top firms. The local champions advance to regional competitions for the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and then to the Global Final, which will all take place in New York City on April 22nd.

BI Norwegian Business School’s Master of Science programme in Finance is an affiliated programme, as conferred by CFA Institute. As such, the Master of Science in Finance programme covers a significant portion of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) in the programme curriculum and conforms to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics.


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