Finance Hands-On Learning

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Students in North Dakota State’s College of Business participated in the CFA (Charters Financial Analyst) Institute Research Challenge to gain skills in finance, teamwork and competition.

According to the CFA Institute website, there are 5,000 students from over 1,000 universities around the globe that participate in the Research Challenge.

During the challenge, each team researches a real company and makes a recommendation to either invest in that company or not. This year, the NDSU team did their research on a global company based in Winona, Minnesota called Fastenal.

“We toured corporate headquarters, manufacturing centers and customization center,” said finance junior Lee Vetsch. “We met with the chief executive officer and chief financial officer, and had a separate call with the CFO afterward.”

Members of the NDSU CFA Institute team consisted of Lee Vetsch, a finance junior from Hazelton, North Dakota, Cal Anderson, a senior finance major from Montevideo, Minnesota, Trevor Honzay, a senior finance major from Olivia, Minnesota, Alen Saric, a freshman business administration major from Whapeton, North Dakota and Matthew Miranda, a freshman finance major from Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Honzay said his favorite part about participating in the CFA Research Challenge was the learning experience that the team got out of it.

“Coming in we had never even heard of Fastenal, but by the end, we knew every in and out of the company,” Honzay said.

The report the team presented about Fastenal was a professional 30-page research paper along with a presentation of their stock pitch for a competition round.

“We learned an incredible amount by the time the challenge was over, not only about Fastenal and equity analysis but also about each other,” Honzay said. “You don’t spend five months locked in a room all weekend with four other guys without getting to know them.”

This was the seventh time competing for an NDSU team and Vetsch said many of them find it to be an enjoyable experience.

“We find this to be the best way to actually learn the finance skills, instead of trying to memorize from a book,” Vetsch said.

Honzay also said that if the competition is something that he would recommend to finance students.

“I would say that if you have a passion for finance you should definitely do it. The challenge is an incredible amount of effort, but by the time it’s over you’ll have gained so much knowledge about the subject that you will know if this is really what you’d like to do as a career,” Honzay said.

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