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College of Business Administration

Buy, Sell or Hold? Finance Students Win Investment Competition

CBA team advances to the next round

Finance Student Win Business Competition

A group of Cal Poly Pomona finance students recently took the top prize in the first round of the Research Challenge, sponsored by the CFA Institute. Now, they are set to compete in mid-March against the best  teams from North and South America.

The students – team captain Michael Lovett, Omar Benitez,  Jia-Lie Wu and, Matthew Yamamoto --participated in the competition that attracts students from 774 universities in 54 countries.

Finance professor Majed Muhtaseb, CFA, CAIA is a member of the board of directors of CFA Society of Orange County. He led the effort to form a Cal Poly Pomona team and served as a mentor along with Debra Bromberg, who worked as a Wall Street securities analyst for more than 20 years

“This is a great accomplishment and recognition for the team, the College of Business Administration as well as Cal Poly Pomona,” Muhtaseb says. “Mike, Matt, Omar and Jia won because they were blessed with boundless dedication. They earned the respect and recognition of two teams of independent judges and many others in the investment management profession.”

Competitors were tasked with conducting a valuation of Reed’s Inc., a top-selling maker of natural sodas well known for its Ginger Brew brand. To prepare for the competition, students had to research the company, its competitors and decide whether investors should buy, sell or hold Reed’s stock. Then, the students defended their recommendation in a report and presented their findings to a panel of industry professionals.

The judges were impressed and awarded the Cal Poly Pomona first place over teams from Chapman University, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton and Claremont McKenna College. Muhtaseb and the students will fly to Denver on March 18 to compete against students from the Americas. CFA Institute will cover travel expenses.

This is only the second time Cal Poly Pomona has entered the competition and team members didn’t know what to expect, Lovett says. All they knew is they wanted to win and devoted 20-30 hours a week to the project with night meetings that would run as late as 1 a.m., Lovett adds.

“This has been one of my best learn by doing experiences,” Lovett says. “We got to meet the CEO [of Reed’s] and our industry advisor has spent many years on Wall Street. I’m interviewing for job and prospective employers are already impressed that I have this competition on my resume.”

If the students win the Denver competition, they will travel to Singapore to compete against the best teams from Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Finance student win business competition