Testing the market

Five Pittsburg State students compete in stock competition

| Kelsea Renz managing editor |

Five Pittsburg State business students placed fourth in the local part of an annual global competition, in which they assumed the roles of research analysts to value a publicly traded company.
The competition, the CFA Institute Research Challenge, is a contest between schools that tests each team’s ability to value a stock and write a report about its results.
“A lot of it was just understanding the background of the company,” said Victoria McKinnon, senior in accounting and finance. “We were trying to incorporate what we saw in growth values and change that into a numerical value to understand what the value would be of the stock.”
Out of the five students who started the competition in September, only McKinnon, Adilet Saralinov and Stuart Semple completed the presentation round. The other two students, Xin Liu and Brendan Sheehy, dropped out of the group due to conflicts.
The remaining members had to work together to analyze the financial statements and potential growth of Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway Company to create a stock value.
“It was really a group effort. We had to be really organized and had to have really strict schedules,” McKinnon said. “We were all going crazy on this team.”
The team made it to the presentation round in Kansas City before being knocked out of the competition.
“I think they did a great job,” said Kevin Bracker, professor of finance and the team’s adviser. “It was a tremendous amount of extra work they had to take on in order to do this, and the competition was really tough, as well.”
Pitt State students had to overcome more challenges than some of the other schools’ teams did.
“Our students have only had one undergraduate finance course,” Bracker said, “but other programs have students who have had more coursework before they start the competition.”
Having never done anything like this before, the students got a lot out of the competition, even though they did not make it past the first round.
“I feel like my understanding of everything financial has all just become more clear from working this in depth on a project,” McKinnon said. “And I’ll still be using this information in my job.”
The team will be able to use their increased knowledge to help them in the future.
“The experience as a whole was very informative,” said Semple, senior in finance and accounting. “It was also great for creating industry contacts who help recent graduates locate and acquire jobs in the financial markets.”
Bracker says he volunteered to be the adviser because he knew how much the competition could help the students.
“The students that participated in it were able to use their experience to get jobs and internships,” he said. “Even for those that don’t go into that career, I think the…skills they develop…provides tremendous benefits.”

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