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About the Research Challenge

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 work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company — sometimes even meeting face-to-face with company management. Each team writes a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation and may be asked to present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals.

The first ever CFA Institute Research Challenge competition was hosted by the New York Society of Security Analysts in 2002 and involved just five teams from the New York area. Since then, the competition has grown to involve tens of thousands of students from over 800 universities in more than 55 countries.

How it Works

Research Challenge Progression  

Local Level Competitions

Local level competitions are organized and judged by Local Hosts (CFA Institute member societies and volunteers). Local Hosts are responsible for:

  • securing subject companies,
  • recruiting volunteers (such as mentors), and
  • inviting universities in their geographic region to participate.

Find out more about getting involved at the local level.

Regional and Global Level Competitions

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

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

View the competition bracket for the 2015-2016 Research Challenge

Research Challenge Terms

  • Faculty Advisers – faculty employed by the team's university; they provide guidance and direction to the team throughout all levels of competition.
  • Graders – the individuals selected by the host to evaluate the Written Reports.
  • Host – the CFA Institute Member Society, CFA Institute, or CFA Institute approved third-party responsible for sponsoring either the local level, regional level, or global level of the Research Challenge.
  • Industry Mentors – are industry professionals, preferably CFA charterholders, assigned to the team by the host to review the team’s written report and provide critique of the presentation.
  • Participants – faculty advisors, report graders, presentation judges, industry mentors, and team members involved in the Research Challenge.
  • Presentation – ten-minute oral and visual presentation prepared by the team.
  • Presentation Judges – selected by the competition host to evaluate the presentations.
  • Report Graders – selected by the competition host to evaluate the written reports.
  • Subject Company – a publicly traded company assigned by the host to the team as the basis for the written report and presentation.
  • Team – three to five undergraduate or graduate students that produce the written report and the presentation.
  • Team Member – one of the three to five students comprising the team.
  • Written Report – the written research report on the subject company prepared by the team.