UH Bauer Team Advances to NY

Published on February 7, 2010

Bauer Grad Students Take First Place in Prestigious Investment
Challenge Competitions, Headed to National Finals in New York

Bauer Teams Top Prestigious Regional Competition. Front from left are Nicholas Hindlet, Julio Guzman, Christina Segura and back row, from left are Paul Stewart, Luis Lugo, Karen Herbst, Lenny Bianco.

It’s only been two years since a University of Houston Bauer College team won a national competition sponsored by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute.

En route to the finals in New York City, that Bauer team topped the University of Texas at Austin, Rice University and other Texas schools eventually taking first place in CFA’s national stock analysis competition, coming ahead of powerhouses like MIT and Carnegie Mellon. The team even finished third in the world. The showing was all the more significant considering that 2008 marked Bauer’s first ever participation in one of the most prestigious collegiate competitions in the finance industry.

Now another group is following in their footsteps and will represent the Texas region in the national competition.

On February 20, two teams of Bauer graduate students won first place in two concurrent competitions: The Texas Investment Program Symposium (T.I.P.S.) Portfolio Competition and the CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge. The conference was hosted by Southern Methodist University and included out-of-state teams from Louisiana State University and Tulane.

Bauer Students’ Cougar Fund Presentation Tops TIPS
Winning the TIPS competition were UH Bauer’s Christina Segura, Julio Guzman and Nicholas Hindlet. The typical presentations consist of an introduction of team members, a description of the team’s investment philosophy, decision-making process, investment style, and a review of the long-term investment results. A discussion of the ethical requirements of the student managers is also part of the Bauer presentation.

The teams use their allotted time to convince the judges that they should be hired to manage this hypothetical account. Judges include institutional investment professionals. Judging is based on the same criteria used to judge a professional money manager. Judges select a winner based on their perceptions about which team’s investment process will most likely produce the best results over time.

In 2008, Quyen Nguyen, John Keeton, Mauricio Franco and Joe Corkin won the national championship of investment competitions.

With CFA Win, Bauer Heads Back to Nationals
Karen Herbst credited the Bauer program with her team’s win in the CFA investment competition, the conference’s other coveted prize. “Being able to apply so many of the things we’ve learned in the Cougar Fund class as well as our other finance classes makes the learning experience so much more effective,” said Herbst , who along with Lenny Bianco, Luis Lugo and Paul Stewart captured a first place finish.

The regional win pits Herbst and her classmates against top tier business schools for the national rounds on March 18 in New York City. In the Dallas competition, teams from all the universities were assigned a company to analyze, Rent-a-Center. Each team then submits a written analysis that is judged by members of the CFA societies of Houston and Dallas. The top five advance to presentations at the conference. They present their analysis for 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A from judges from the CFA societies of Houston and Dallas. The final outcome is determined 50% by their score on the written analysis and 50% on the presentation.

“Our students’ diverse experience and backgrounds make them a highly competitive force,” says Tom George, Bauer Professor of Finance and director of the AIM Center for Investment Management at Bauer. “They have strong business experience and juggle a lot of demands, which prepares them for experiences like this.”

We are obviously very proud of the students and this accomplishment. Their double wins this year, and the national title attest to the quality of the program here at Bauer. The programs at other business schools in our region are very strong too. The intensity of the competition at this level should serve as good preparation for the national CFA competition in New York on March 18,” added George.

About The Cougar Investment Fund
The Cougar Investment Fund is a $7 million private investment fund managed by graduate students. The Fund’s purpose is to give students the opportunity to gain experience in the management of an investment portfolio while providing a diversified investment vehicle for its investors.

About the CFA Investment Research Challenge
A few years ago, the CFA Society of Dallas/Fort Worth (CFA-DFW) and the CFA Society of Houston teamed up to launch an exciting new initiative, Investment Research Challenge – Texas. Four Texas societies field teams: CFA Austin, CFA Dallas/Fort Worth, CFA Houston and CFA San Antonio. The purposes of the Challenge are to teach best practices in research to the next generation of analysts, offer experience in a real-world setting to complement students’ academic curriculum and provide an opportunity for experienced investment professionals and society members to give back.

Investment Research Challenge was originated and trademarked by the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) and is currently replicated in Asia Pacific Region; Europe and various regions in North and South America. The CFA Institute sponsors the Investment Research Challenge and takes a strong role in supporting local CFA societies that decide to roll out a Challenge.

By Chester Jacinto

Students React to Win
“It was an honor to represent UH, Bauer, the Department of Finance and the Cougar Investment Fund. This was a great reward for all the work we’ve put in thus far, and we’re continuing to focus on going to Hong Kong and winning the CFA Global IRC. Our experiences with the Cougar Fund have been key to our success in the competition and allowed us to raise our performance to the next level.”
-Lenny Bianco

“I feel so relieved and proud. As a team, we spent over two and a half months preparing for this competition. We spent many late nights at Bauer, but in the end, we became very close and put a product together that we knew we could be proud of. To date, this has been my best experience as an MBA student.”
-Luis Lugo

“This has been a truly great experience that allowed us to pit the skills we’ve developed at Bauer against some of the best schools in the region. I could not have worked with a better team and have nothing but gratitude toward Dr. George for the opportunity to represent the school. This is the experience I hoped for when I chose to attend Bauer.”
-Paul Stewart