College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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CFA Institute Research Challenge


“They believed they could really do it, they just knew they could go up against the 9 other top teams and win,” said Kevin Waspi, assistant professor of finance. Such was Waspi’s response to being asked to describe the special quality inherent in the ILLINOIS College of Business team competing for the first time in the local level of the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute is a global organization with four regions that promote excellence and professionalism among financial analysts. The CFA Research Challenge provides a means to test bright young analysts who desire to advance in the world of asset management and securities analysis.

Waspi, who serves as a faculty mentor for the CFA Institute, interviewed 10 students last fall and selected five to represent ILLINOIS in the competition held on February 16, of this year. The team was comprised of one undergraduate student and four graduate students.

Keddy Bushi Huang
Thanh Le
Juan (Patricia) Liu
Cheng (Max) Zou
Ya (Jenna) Zuo

Together they “put forth a herculean effort” in preparation for the competition, said Waspi. They prepared a report based on an extensive analysis of Zebra Technologies Corporation, then prepared a five-minute oral presentation delivered to a panel of senior company executives.

Jim Goss ’72 worked with students as their industry mentor. His expert analysis skills and extensive experience, including past president of the CFA Society of Chicago made him an excellent resource for the students.

The ILLINOIS team met in Chicago in February with teams from 9 other schools, including, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Saint Xavier University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, and University of Notre Dame.

The ILLINOIS team placed third.

Waspi is proud of the partnership developed over the years between the Department of Finance and the CFA and the strong curriculum that closely aligns with CFA values and proficiencies.

An official Press Release and additional information can be found on the CFA Chicago website:

UIUC College of Business