RWTH Team: Convincing Performance at the CFA Research Challenge


RWTH team makes it to the finals of the CFA Challenge with financial analysis of Hapag-Lloyd AG

Participants of the CFA Challenge Copyright: © CFA Society Germany

RWTH students Maximilian Drüppel, Nicolas Klein, Jesco Melzer, Tobias Saalmann and Samuel Stux took part in the global "CFA Institute Research Challenge" competition and secured a place among the top 3. The CFA Institute is the global professional association for investment managers, financial analysts and professional investors. In the Research Challenge, students take on the role of an analyst and prepare an equity report for a publicly traded company.

The Aachen students qualified with their report on buying, selling or holding the company shares of Hapag-Lloyd AG. It is a corporate partner for the final of this year's competition. In this final round, two other teams competed online before a jury of investment experts.

The suggestion for student participation came from the Department of Finance. The team was put together there and supported by private lecturer Dr. Astrid Salzmann. Jan-Philipp Matthewes from the circle of German CFA Chartholders was on hand to advise.

"The current logistics bottlenecks made the task of analyzing a transport and logistics company exciting. Our forecast came true already during the competition. It was a challenge to convince the jury, which we were happy to do," says Jesco Melzer. The 24-year-old is enrolled in a master's degree program in economics.

His fellow student Samuel Stux describes the general conditions: "Due to the pandemic, we only exchanged information online. Nevertheless, everyone was able to work effectively on the preparation of the report and the presentation." Stux, 25, is studying for a master's degree in industrial engineering with a specialization in sustainability and corporation.


RWTH among the 8 best teams of young financial analysts in EMEA 2019

The RWTH team at the regional decision in Zurich Copyright: © CFA Institute Serkan Aygültekin, Lukas Bruhns, David Bußmann und Johannes Ull (v.l.n.r.)

The team of RWTH Aachen University reached the final round of the best eight universities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the regional decision of the EMEA region. This was the first time that a German university had qualified for the final of the competition.

At the CFA Institute Research Challenge, the best young analysts are awarded every year. In the competition, teams of students from universities all over the world compete against each other. The competition for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region took place in Zurich on 11 April.

The team from RWTH Aachen University prevailed in the Germany decision in February and now competed against 43 teams of future investment experts. The team was supervised by Dr. Astrid Salzmann from the Chair of Corporate Finance.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual, international university competition that offers students intensive practical experience and professional insights into financial analysis. Every year, more than 5,000 students from more than 1,000 universities worldwide take part. The teams prepare a securities analysis of a listed company and then make a buy/hold/sell recommendation.

  RWTH Winner team at CFA Research Challenge Copyright: © CFA Society Germany Vincent Fischer, Simone Cornelißen, Linda Weikl, Tessa Dannenberg und Maximilian Michaelsen (f.l.t.r.)

Frankfurt am Main, January 29, 2020 - 6,100 students from around 1,150 universities in 95 countries worldwide are taking part in this year's CFA Institute Research Challenge. The winners of the Germany decision, organized by the CFA Society Germany, have been announced: On Tuesday, January 28, the team from RWTH Aachen University prevailed against the competition.

From university to practice
The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual international university competition. Student teams prepare research reports from listed companies and test their academic knowledge under real conditions. Of the ten German university teams that took part, three - RWTH Aachen, TU München, and WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management - were the most convincing. RWTH Aachen University came out as winner. The team, consisting of the up-and-coming financial professionals Simone Cornelißen, Tessa Dannenberg, Vincent Philipp Brix Fischer, Maximilian Michaelsen, and Linda Weikl, presented a professional financial analysis and company valuation of Beiersdorf AG. Patrick Nass from the German CFA Chartholder and Dr. Astrid Salzmann from the Department of Finance provided advice.

"It was great fun to work on a practical case. We gathered a lot of available information and evaluated key balance sheet figures as well as other fundamental data on the business model and market environment", said the successful winning team from RWTH Aachen University.

"We are delighted to participate in the competition as this year's corporate partner," commented Anil Yumut, CFA, Investor Relations Manager at DAX-listed consumer goods group Beiersdorf. "We congratulate the winning team. The five-member group from RWTH Aachen University presented particularly strong research and a stringent analyst rating".

The initiative is supported by over 4,000 volunteers worldwide. The jury in Germany consists of capital market experts who hold the title CFA Charterholder and are involved in the CFA Society Germany. The German local association is the largest professional association for investment managers and professional investors in Germany with 2,800 members.

Fingers crossed for the global final
The members of the winning team will now receive a scholarship from the CFA Society Germany for their further training and automatically qualify for the European-wide preliminary round, which will take place at the beginning of April. The winner will compete against the best university teams of all continents on April 22 in New York. "We're keeping our fingers crossed that the team from Germany will win the title this year and return home with the prize money of 10,000 US dollars," says Susan Spinner, Executive Director and CEO of the CFA Society Germany, motivating the young talents of the German team.

CFA Institute Research Challenge
The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual international university competition that offers students intensive practical experience and professional insights into financial analysis. Teams from all over the world prepare securities analyses of a listed company and then write a report with recommendations.

The jury in Germany this year consisted of Christian Rasim, Senior Director and Head of Corporate Rating & Creditor Relations of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Prof. Dr. Matthias Meitner, Professor of Finance & Accounting at the International School of Management (ISM), Martina Bahl, Managing Director of BahlConsult GmbH, and Sebastian Frericks, Head of Investor Relations of Carl Zeiss Meditec AG. In Germany, the Research Challenge has been held annually by the CFA Society Germany since 2010. The winning teams of the national preliminary rounds qualify for a regional intermediate round (EMEA, APAC, AMER). Those who succeed there will compete in the global final for USD 10,000 prize money for their own university.

  Winner CFA-Challenge Germany 2019 Copyright: © CFA Society Germany e.V.