CFA Society Phoenix

A Member of the CFA Institute Global Network of Societies




 Research Challenge Platinum Sponsor


 Overview and History of the Desert Classic IRC

In 2010, the CFA Societies of Phoenix, Tucson and Nevada teamed up to provide an exciting new initiative for students.  In the initial year of the CFA Institute Research Challenge at the local level, student teams from Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas competed with each other for the right to advance to the CFA Institute Research Challenge Regional Finals.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students gain real-world experience as they assume the role of a research analyst and are tested on their ability to value a stock, write an initiation-of-coverage report, and present their recommendations.

 Levels of Competition

Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded stock — sometimes even meeting face-to-face with company management. Each team produces an initiation-of-coverage report on their assigned stock with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation and are expected to present and defend their thesis to a panel of industry veterans.

The winner from each local competition advances to one of the three regional competitions hosted by CFA Institute: in the Americas; the Asia Pacific; and Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions.

The winner from each regional competition will advance to the Global Final, where one team will emerge as the global champion of the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

2015 - 2016 Research Challenge review - Out of a total of 5 teams across two states competing in this past year's local CFA Institute Research Challenge, the team from the Arizona State University (ASU) was selected the winner of our local challenge. The ASU team went on to compete at the Americas Regional Final in Chicago, Illinois for the 10th anniversary of the Research Challenge. Teams from across the Americas, including Canada, the U.S., and Latin/South America competed. The University of Waterloo, Canada were champions of the Americas Regional Final and advanced to the Global Final. The University of Waterloo emerged as the Global Champions for the 2015 – 2016 Research Challenge, besting teams from the Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa Regions.

 2016 - 2017 Update

This year's local Research Challenge will begin in September, 2016. Five university teams are slated to compete in this year's Challenge, including Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and University of New Mexico. For upcoming deadlines, please see the Timeline section of our website. Best of luck to all!

A very special thank you to all the volunteers over the past several years, including the university liaisons, faculty advisors, instructors, team mentors, graders and judges.  Each of your contributions has made it possible for the local Challenge to become the success it is today!  Volunteers interested in helping with the CFA Institute Research Challenge for the 2016 - 2017 year, please contact Tyler Schlumpf, CFA and Mike Schoppet, CFA ( and​

 Benefits of the CFA Institute Research Challenge

  • Students receive real-world training in equity analysis
  • Investment professionals make an impact on the profession
  • Public companies promote education and analyst independence
  • Universities gain global exposure
  • Corporate sponsors reach universities, students, and finance professionals​

 Research Challenge 2014