Congratulations to our first-year Wharton EMBA students who recently won first place at the Western U.S. finals of the CFA Global Investment Research Challenge in Las Vegas! They now head to the Americas Challenge in New York to take on other regional winners from North and South America.
Team member Rochan Sankar, who is principal and owner of consulting company Vistara, explains that the competition requires student teams to research, analyze, and report on an assigned company as if they are practicing analysts. The Wharton | San Francisco team was assigned Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco. “The competition was a natural fit for our team because we were looking for an extracurricular activity to do together and some of us were specifically looking to learn more about valuing technology companies,” he says.
The team was given a month to study the company and prepare an analysis. Their final presentation was locally evaluated by the CFA Society of San Francisco and selected to move on the Western regionals.
Sankar notes that despite not having taken the courses on the fundamentals of valuation and financial analysis yet, they were fortunate in that each team member brought a different skill set to the table. “We poured through the company’s 10K reports, Googled everything possible about Dolby, listened to past earnings calls on the Web, researched the technologies, and listened to what other analysts in the community were saying to get a sense of the market sentiment about the company.”
He adds, “The real reward is being able to complete this project. We are all in positions where we evaluate our own financial performance or that of our companies and to be able to use the language of professional financial analysts is our goal. And going to Las Vegas with friends was a good motivation too! In an executive MBA program, you don’t have as much time for clubs and extracurricular activities because of our full-time jobs and families so to be able to have the option to do something like this is great.”
Fellow team member Rob Dhat, director of Strategic Marketing at Rambus Inc., agrees. “The competition certainly adds to our Wharton experience. As odd as it may sound, I don’t imagine I would have been able to tackle a project like this let alone do so well without being in the program. The students are all of high quality and help raise my own level of performance and confidence in being able to accomplish difficult tasks.”