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Student team competes in financial challenge

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LAWRENCE — The Kansas City CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Society, a team of four students from the University of Kansas, claimed the winning title among the six competing universities for the second year at the local CFA Institute Research Challenge in Kansas City in February.

The team members are Sean O'Neil, MBA student; Jake Painter, finance undergraduate; John Pecis, finance undergraduate; and Thad Sieracki, master's student.

The team was evaluated on a written report and presentation that demonstrated financial recommendations as a sales pitch, which demonstrated both the buy and sales options for an assigned company.

Last October the team began conducting its research for Garmin Ltd. and has focused this semester on preparing the report and practicing their presentation. "The guys had a flawless report," said Dieter Schrader, KC CFA Society faculty advisor and finance lecturer. "We got a lot of feedback of having a clean, smooth look to the presentation."

The Regional Americas Challenge will be in held in New York City, where the team will compete against 42 teams on Tuesday, April 10.

"Right now they are just focused on making sure everything is as good as it possibly can be," Schrader said.

During this round of the competition, the team will only focus on their presentation portion of the report which includes a 10 minute presentation followed by a 10 minute questions and answer portion. The written work is done, but they are in the process of editing the presentation with the guidance of feedback from the graders and judges.

The four team members are volunteers who also are actively involved in school and work. The students have dedicated a lot of time to research and developing a strong presentation. Dieter asked that none of them partake if it would interfere with school or work.

"It's important that students not only look good on paper, but also have strong communication skills in order to deliver their findings, because presenting is such a major part of the competition," Schrader said.

The report is entirely the work of the students, with little guidance from faculty advisors Schrader and Matt Norris, as well as presentation tips from Steve Ligget.

The team's high level of commitment and enthusiasm, Schrader is confident that they will do well in the competition. "These guys have really worked hard to get where they are," Schrader said.

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