Texas State team wins CFA Southwest U.S. Research Challenge

March 3, 2023

Four college students in business attire smiling and posing indoors.
Members of Texas State University's winning team at the CFA Southwest U.S. Research Challenge (left to right): Brian Dorough-Paniagua, Aaron Aguirre, Michael Hardy, and Jesusa Zuniga.&ensp;<i>Photo courtesy of Dr. Janet Payne.</i>

Team takes home trophy vs. eight other finalists

By Twister Marquiss

Manager, Marketing and Communications,
McCoy College of Business

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Texas State University’s undergraduate-level Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Challenge team competed against eight collegiate finalist teams from Texas and Louisiana to win the CFA Southwest U.S. Research Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 25. The competition was hosted at the McCoy College of Business at Texas State.

Texas State’s CFA Challenge team, which hails from McCoy College, is comprised of finance majors Brian Dorough-Paniagua and Michael Hardy, accounting major Jesusa Zuniga, and recent finance graduate Aaron Aguirre (B.B.A., Fall 2022).

“I enjoyed working on a team with such talented, driven, well-rounded individuals,” Hardy said. “I am excited to see the success they will achieve in their career. We were determined to win it all, with each of us contributing about 200+ hours into this challenge working long days and late nights.”

During the competition, teams were separated into two rooms where they were each given 10 minutes to report and 10 minutes of questions-and-answers with judges who are CFA charter holders and members of CFA societies. The winners of each room advanced to the finals, where they competed head to head. The finalist teams were from West Texas A&M and Texas State.

“Our teams went toe-to-toe and our team won,” said Dr. Janet Payne, the team's faculty advisor. “We’re sort of fun rivals [with West Texas A&M]. It’s a friendly rivalry. Afterwards, our teams went out together. It’s a networking opportunity as well.”

Dr. Payne said that the four students on this year’s team have been outstanding, and they have shown that in their support for one another.

“Working with my team on the CFA challenge was one of the biggest up-takings in my life,” Dorough-Paniagua said. “We all had to put in hundreds of hours. There were many late nights in the [Paul T. Bulmahn] Trading Lab together, where we were tired and frustrated. But I think the driving factor for us was that we were focused on getting first no matter what in this competition. There was never a moment when we doubted, we would get first.”

Hardy also said that the CFA Challenge was rewarding in many ways.

“This competition allowed me to work with and compete against like-minded individuals who are just as dedicated to finance as I am,” Hardy said. “I have gained valuable experience in a research analyst role and developed skills in equity research, valuation, report writing, and presenting. I highly recommend anyone who is interested in the field of investments to participate in this highly regarded challenge as it provides an invaluable experience you can’t get from regular coursework.”

The next round for the Texas State team will be sub-regionals. “It’s video only,” Dr. Payne said. “No Q&A. We’ve never made it past that stage. Last time we won and went to sub-regionals was two years ago.”

“My team and I are still focused on the next round as our goal from the beginning was to win in the Global Competition,” Dorough-Paniagua said.

“Representing the McCoy College of Business in a challenge on this level is a privilege,” Hardy said. “I like to think of this accomplishment as a way of showcasing the talent the faculty has created at McCoy, and as a way of contributing to the reputation of our finance program that could benefit future students. The professors are dedicated to helping students become professionals in their field of study and without them we would not have had the confidence to compete at all. There is also a sense of pride that comes with this achievement.”

In order to compete in the CFA Southwest U.S. Research Challenge, teams submitted 10-page sell-side reports. The CFA Societies of Austin, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Louisiana chose a company on which the competing teams wrote their reports, and 21 reports were submitted.

The societies then chose the top 10 to compete at the event in San Marcos: Loyola University-New Orleans, Nicholls State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, two teams from Texas A&M University, Texas State University, the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at El Paso, and West Texas A&M University. Loyola and UH were unable to attend, and a team from St. Mary’s University was named as a substitute, leaving nine total teams, including Texas State’s team.

This marked the first time that McCoy College had hosted the event. ✯

For more information, email Twister Marquiss, manager of marketing and communications for the McCoy College of Business, at twister@txstate.edu.

About the McCoy College of Business
Established in 1970, Texas State’s business school officially became the McCoy College of Business in 2004 following a donation of $20 million by Emmett and Miriam McCoy. The college, which offers classes in both San Marcos and Round Rock, is accredited by AACSB in both business and accounting, and has graduated nearly 42,000 alumni.

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