Students in the MSF Program Participate in the 2020 CFA Institute Research Challenge

By Anna G. Szczebak

The CFA Institute Research Challenge isn’t a competition for the faint of heart. Four UMass Boston students in the Masters of Finance (MSF) program, Valentino Palmieri, Jasmine Shukla, Tu Mai, and Phuong Tran, formed a team and participated in the 2020 round of this competition. They used their analytical, valuation, report writing, and presentation skills to assume the role of research analysts for a real-world company and compete against students from other major, Boston-based universities.

This competition is a global one, focused on financial analysis and professional ethics. Teams first compete in a local level competition. Winning groups move on to sub-regional, regional, national, and international rounds. Valentino, Jasmine, Tu, and Phuong had the opportunity to work with Rapid7, a cybersecurity and compliance solutions company. After a meeting with company executives, the UMass Boston team took matters into their own hands. Under the guidance of Mark Rye and UMass Boston Professor KoEun Park, they performed in-depth research and wrote a twenty-page paper on the A to Z operations of Rapid 7, including a complete financial analysis and recommendations for future action. Their hard work paid off, and the team advanced to the Boston finals, presenting their research to a panel of judges from the CFA society.

Valentino, Jasmine, Tu, and Phuong speak highly of their experience in the CFA Institute Research Challenge. The competition has not only instilled the group with a sense of confidence in their abilities but allowed them to put the concepts they’ve learned in the MSF program to practical use.

“I am extremely grateful for all the professors and mentors that put trust in me and the entire team. I am also grateful for my team members, who were supportive and helpful throughout the competition. A big thank you to Professor Park and Mark Rye for always being available to help and guide us. This competition was such a great learning opportunity and a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Jasmine Shukla.

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