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Financial Economics Students Participate in CFA Research Challenge in Dublin

From (L-R) Rodrigues Wambua, Jacqueline Gathoni, Luqman Hussein, Cynthia Wambui and Jeffery Murerwa

4th year Bachelor of Business Science in Financial Economics students competed in the 2018 CFA Research Challenge that took place on 4th and 5th April in Dublin Ireland. The team of five comprising Rodrigues Wambua, Jacqueline Gathoni, Luqman Hussein, Cynthia Wambui and Jeffery Murerwa reached the semi-finals in the regional competitions.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual, global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company and then write a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation.

The regional and global competitions are hosted by the CFA Society Institute in the Americas; the Asia Pacific; and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions. The winning teams from each regional competition advance to the Global Final, where one team emerges the global champion of the challenge.  Strathmore team represented CFA Society East Africa.

The local competitions required that Strathmore compete against 21 teams from East Africa, before proceeding to the regionals. Jeffery was glad that their team was formed on a common bond based on interest in the challenge, because this interest bound the team together.

Our team was formed based on interest in participating in the challenge. Three times in a row Strathmore has won the regional competition and this piqued our interest as we thought of forming a team. Once we knew we were accepted into the competition, we attended a kick-off meeting where we were advised on the company we would analyse, KENGEN, and the general rules for the competition. We were given 3 months to submit a report. The process was intense; we had to learn some things from scratch. There were clearly defined terms we had to appeal to, to meet our deadlines.

The team took time to learn about the main business of the company – electricity generation – and how it works, before specializing on KENGEN. KENGEN then made a presentation to help all 21 teams understand their business in depth.

Luqman particularly appreciated the guidance given by a KENGEN representative.

We were guided on the business description, how the industry works, the distribution, generation and infrastructure. We learnt about the main drivers and through the help of an industry mentor, who had worked at KENGEN for the past three years, we were guided on how to write the report and make the presentations.

After three months, all 21 teams convened in Nairobi for the local competitions. The Strathmore team won the round and their report was submitted to a panel in Dublin for marking. The team then joined other winners in Dublin for the next competition.

There were 40 teams in Dublin who were split into groups of twenty each with four groups, to start off the regional competition. The winner of the four groups would go to regional final, and the winner of that final would represent the EMEA regions in the finals later this year. Strathmore team reached the semifinal round in this competition and Rodrigues was grateful for how far they reached.

The interesting thing is that we competed against 21 teams, some of the other teams in the society competed against three or at most six teams. This definitely put us on a good book as most teams were amazed at our success that far. We were also competing with Masters Students. We did pretty well for ourselves.

The team learnt a lot through this competition, how to work in groups, how to deal with people, how to write comprehensive reports that involved an investment summary, business description, industry overview and how competitive a company is, valuation, financial analysis, risk analysis and corporate governance. These, Luqman says, were skills they would not have learnt so well without the practical angle the competition gave.

At one point we disliked each other because we each had a lot of work to do and there was pressure. But when we presented and our work was up to standard our confidence was boosted. I can say for a fact that we are not at the same place we were last year. This competition enabled us to challenge ourselves.

Students interested in participating in such a challenge can start by talking to the teams that have previously participated to understand the process. Then look out for announcements by the Dean of SIMS, who informs 3rd year students when the competition is open for application.

We are really grateful to our industry mentor – Miss Caroline Kiragu – who took us through a very rigorous process that shaped our research to what it was at the competition. She was also very patient with us considering how green we were through the different processes. Jeffery concluded.


Congratulations to the team on their accomplishments.