UC Business Students Show Talent for Stock Research

Ursinus Business and Economics students placed fifth out of 13 teams, including many from schools with graduate business programs, in a regional stock research competition. The group’s forecast turned out to be correct, too.

A team of four Ursinus students placed fifth in the 2015 CFA Society of Philadelphia Research Challenge.  Sponsored by the local chapter of the Chartered Financial Analysts Society, the research challenge requires teams of three to five students to write a research report on a publicly-traded stock, like those written by professional analysts working for brokerages and investment banks. The Ursinus team of undergraduate business and economics majors competed against many in masters of business administration (MBA) programs, including all four universities that finished ahead of Ursinus. 

The Ursinus team included Joshua Bowman (Class of 2016), Stephen Caplan (Class of 2017), Kendra Deuel (Class of 2016), and Heather Perpetua (Class of 2016). Ursinus Assistant Professor of Business and Economics Scott Deacle was the faculty adviser, and Michael Martorelli, a director at West Conshohocken investment bank Fairmount Partners, was the CFA mentor. 

The CFA Challenge is valuable for students, said Deacle, “because it gives them another chance to put in practice the things they learn in the classroom - not just the fundamental principles of stock valuation, but also good research and writing skills as well as teamwork.

“I think the results show that a broad, liberal education can train students to perform real-world tasks just as well as a more specialized education.”

Sixteen teams from Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware entered the competition. Of those teams, 13 completed written reports. The Ursinus team nearly qualified for the local finals. A team from the University of Delaware was selected to represent the Philadelphia area at an April regional competition with teams from North and South America, in advance of a worldwide competition to be held later in April.

The Ursinus team also exhibited some forecasting ability in its report. The group examined a Harrisburg-area firm that provides services to the steel, railroad, and construction industries, concluded the firm will likely struggle in the coming years, and rated the company’s stock a “sell.” After the report was submitted in mid-January, the company released quarterly financial statements in late February showing earnings falling well below professional analyst’s estimates.