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My journey to BI

My Journey to a Global Championship in the CFA Research Challenge

Full name: Sara Trajchevska Age: 24 Citizenship: Macedonian Programme at BI: MSc in Finance If you are an MSc in Finance student at BI Norwegian Business School and you are in pursuit of the most memorable experience during your studies, then a participation in the CFA Research Challenge is a must!

(Team consisting of: Joseph DiRenzo, Sophie Borge, Erlend McDougall & Sara Trajchevska) 

For those of you who are not familiar with this competition, the CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics. Students, competing in teams of three to five, are given a task to conduct an in-depth analysis of an assigned listed company. The task is to write a 30-paged report (10 pages main text and 20 pages appendix), consisting of several parts: investment summary; business description; environmental, social & governance (ESG) stance of the company; industry overview & competitive positioning; financial analysis; valuation and investment risks. The team is also required to prepare a presentation and present its work on the local level (Norway & Denmark), sub-regional level (Norway & Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Ireland), regional semi-final and final level (EMEA) and global final level (EMEA, Asia-Pacific and Americas) of the competition. Note that only the winning teams from each level advance to the next level of the competition. 

This year, the assigned company for our region was Vestas, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer. Having a renewable company as a target company has been especially exciting because currently, we are in the midst of a global energy transition. As we were building our slides and our report, news would pop up about new government incentives, which obviously had an immediate impact on our model – so we had to be very quick and flexible about incorporating such information into our analysis. 

There were, without a doubt, many hours dedicated to this competition, but our team made it through all the stages and managed to grab the global championship. Luckily, we were not alone in the process, we had our professor, Janis Berzins and our mentor, Xiuyi Shirley Dong – to guide us through the entire competition. 

At each stage of the competition, we had to present our work through a 10-minute presentation in front of a panel of distinguished finance professionals, consisting of heads of research, portfolio managers, and chief investment officers from the world's top firms. The presentation was followed by a 10-minute Q&A session by the panel, which I can safely label as the most adrenaline rushing highlight of the competition. In my opinion, the determining factor of the winning team is its ability to answer questions succinctly and correctly. Therefore, our mentor and professor were constantly holding a pop-up Q&A sessions for us, every week without an exception, in order to make us excel in this skill.  

Not every business school out there provides the opportunity to engage in such a cool and globally recognized competition, and in my opinion, this is one of the factors that makes BI stand out. Not only will you learn how to be a more successful financial analyst, but also this competition can serve as an employability booster in the job-hunting process. After all, if you embark on such a journey, there is a huge chance that this will be your most memorable and thrilling experience at BI – and, the trophies that you will receive from each stage of the competition will be a great décor to your home.