Best in the World! SAF Students Win International Finance Competition

Sunday, April 17, 2016
by Patty Mah

Five University of Waterloo students celebrate their global championship at the 2016 CFA Institute Research Challenge. Brent Small (AFM), Adnan Khan (AFM), Daniel Zhang (Biotech/CPA), Kamaljot Dhaliwal (CFM) and Rudder Zhang (BMath) are all smiles as this victory marks the first Canadian team to win this prestigious international title.

SAF student team L-R: Kamaljot Dhaliwal, Brent Small, Rudder Zhang, Daniel Zhang, and Adnan Khan

The annual financial analysis competition draws over 5,000 students world-wide from over 1,000 universities in 70 countries. The School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) student team spent hours preparing to present and defend detailed equities research report on a publicly traded company to a panel of industry experts. The SAF team advanced through several rounds to reach the Global Finals in Chicago, where they beat out University of Georgia, Ateneo de Manila University, and Politecnico di Milano, to capture the championship and a $10,000 prize.

CFA Society Toronto is pleased to congratulate the University of Waterloo on winning the Global level of the 2016 CFA Institute Research Challenge. We are extremely proud of the students from University of Waterloo. This is the first time a Canadian team has won the Global competition. This is a great accomplishment for both the student team members, Rudder Zhang, Adnan Khan, Kam Dhaliwal, Brent Small, and Daniel Zhang, and their mentors, Steve Balaban, CFA, and Craig Geoffrey, CFA, in helping shape the Future of Finance in Canada, as they competed against 106 teams from across the globe," applauds Sue Lemon, CFA, CEO, CFA Society Toronto.

2016 SAF team captures world championship in CFA Institute Research ChallengeThe competition, which spans one academic year, requires student teams to analyze a publicly traded company, submit a written report and present their buy, sell, or hold recommendation of the company’s stock. The assigned company for the SAF team was Canadian Tire Corporation, a public corporation who also owns the Mark's, FGL Sports, Canadian Tire Financial Services and CT REIT. The written report, submitted in December was the first key component on which each team is judged which cannot be modified. At each stage of advancement, the SAF team presented in defense of their report.

Craig Geoffrey, CFA, an SAF finance lecturer and the team’s faculty mentor, along with the team’s industry mentor, Steve Balaban, CFA, CIO of Mink Capital prepared the students well. The team’s depth of analysis, knowledge in their research and their insightful valuation surpassed their competitors in a number of areas.

The win demonstrates the strength and depth of the University of Waterloo’s accounting and finance programs. The dual focus of accounting and finance, coupled with experiential learning through co-operative education, and extra- and co-curricular activities provides 1,850 SAF students with hands-on intensive training in two key fields in business.

Our students performed a complex valuation analysis that was based on the sum-of-the-parts method, whereby students used an array of valuation techniques to value each segment of the company. The students put in countless hours of preparation through research, store visits, calls and in-person meetings. This was a big differentiating factor between our team’s presentation and the other [competing teams]." comments Steve Balaban

Geoffrey knows this is a lifelong lesson for SAF students, “From a teaching perspective it is inspiring to see students pour such passion into their work. The lessons learned from the experience, regardless of the outcome, will set them apart on their career paths.”

Where are they now? These students have accelerated the impressive careers since graduating from SAF.

Relive the excitement of the competition here: CFA Global Live

Read more on our students' success here: