The Niagara University CFA Research Challenge team: Linh Nguyen, Alkim Tekin, team captain Steven Quinn, Jiachen Sun, and faculty advisor Edward Hutton. Missing from photo: Roberto Soliman.

Eight student teams from universities across upstate New York gathered at Niagara University on Feb. 18 to compete in the ninth annual CFA Institute Research Challenge. The local contest was part of an annual global student competition that involves more than 5,000 students from over 1,000 universities in 85 countries.

The teams in the Niagara competition analyzed Astronics Corp. (NASDAQGS: ATRO), an aerospace manufacturer with headquarters in East Aurora, N.Y. In preparation for the competition, the students extensively analyzed the public financial filing of Astronics, researched the aerospace industry, and had the opportunity to meet and question the leadership of the company.

Students were judged by their ability to value a stock, write a research report, and present and defend their recommendations before a panel of professional investors, who selected the two semifinal teams based on their combined written and oral presentations. Those two teams competed head to head to earn the right to advance to the Americas Regional Final in New York City.

“The CFA Research Challenge was one of the most difficult, but rewarding, experiences of my college career,” said Steven Quinn, Niagara CFA Research Challenge team captain. “We developed an incredible amount of detail about Astronics, the company we had to evaluate, but also had to become expert in the aviation industry and the international economy. Our team worked many hours together in the Financial  Services Lab – late into the night, even over the Christmas break. Maybe the hardest part was having to communicate all that information in a maximum 10-page report and a 10-minute presentation!”

The competition was hosted by the Niagara University College of Business and the CFA societies of Buffalo and Rochester, and sponsored by S&P Global Market Intelligence, Citi, and Manning & Napier. The universities competing at Niagara included Canisius College (first-place winners), Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Geneseo, Niagara University, SUNY Oswego (second-place winners), Syracuse University, and the University of Rochester.

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