Mercer named runner-up in 2023 CFA Institute Southern Classic Research Challenge

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A group of students and faculty stand in front of stairs.
Mercer's team was named runner-up in the 2023 CFA Institute Southern Classic Research Challenge. Photo courtesy CFA Society Atlanta

ATLANTA — Mercer University was named runner-up in the 2023 CFA Institute Southern Classic Research Challenge, which features aspiring investment professionals representing colleges and universities in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

CFA Institute Research Challenges are held across the globe to test university students’ analytic, valuation, report writing and presentation skills. Each challenge includes analysis of a publicly traded company, mentoring by a faculty and a professional research analyst, writing a research report, and presenting the same to a panel of experts.

This year’s subject company was Pulte Group, a residential construction company headquartered in Georgia. Mercer’s second-ranked team, which was attempting a three-peat after two consecutive years of championships, consisted of five students: graduating School of Business seniors Emily Smith, Zachary Waller, George Wall and Thomas Cowart, as well as Robert Zell, a Master of Science in Business Analytics student on the Atlanta campus.

The students were led by faculty mentor Dr. Jeff Ngene, associate professor of financial economics, who has coached Mercer’s CFA Institute Research Challenge teams since 2014, and industry mentor George Hauptfuhrer, who has worked with the University’s teams for the past six years.

“Although we did not bring the cup home for the third time in a row, I am still extremely proud and bullish about our students,” Dr. Ngene said. “They clearly stand out as polished, confident and ready for the job market. This is a testimony of the quality of our students, their diligence and dedication, and the profound role of engaged and analytical experiential learning. The team raises the profile of Mercer University and the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business. Our success demonstrates the depth, breadth and quality of the talent Mercer University produces and the rich skills finance students gain to prepare them for their chosen career paths.”

The first CFA Institute Research Challenge competition was hosted by the New York Society of Security Analysts in 2002 and involved just five teams from the New York area. Since then, the competition has grown to include thousands of students from over 1,000 universities in more than 75 countries.

The CFA Institute Southern Classic was hosted on Feb. 24 by CFA Society Atlanta, founded in 1960 to serve the practitioner’s need for specialized knowledge, advanced studies and information on new developments in investments and financial management and to promote high standards of professional conduct among its members. Atlanta is among the largest of the more than 160 CFA Institute member societies, with more than 178,000 charter holders and affiliates.

CFA Institute is a global, not-for-profit professional organization that provides investment professionals with finance education. It aims to promote the standards in ethics, education and professional excellence in the global investment industry.

About the School of Business

Established in 1984, Mercer’s School of Business is named for Eugene W. Stetson, a 1901 Mercer graduate and business pioneer who leveraged the first major buyout in corporate history, and his grandson Robert F. (Bob) Hatcher, a Macon businessman, longtime supporter, trustee and former board chair for the University. Over the past 80 years, Mercer has granted over 12,000 business degrees, and many of its graduates hold senior leadership positions in companies around the world. Mercer’s business school delivers career-focused business education in order to develop innovative leaders who are responsible global citizens. It holds accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which places it among the top five percent of all top business schools worldwide. Mercer’s business school has been recognized by The Princeton Review for “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students” and “Greatest Opportunity for Women” as well as being one of its “Best Business Schools.” In addition, it has been recognized among the “Top 15 Schools in the Nation for Marketing and Accounting.” The School offers the following programs: Atlanta (Evening and Online BBA, Full-Time (Day) MBA, Evening MBA, Online MBA, Master of Accountancy, M.S. in Business Analytics), Macon (Traditional BBA, Evening MBA, Health Care MBA, and Innovation MBA), Henry County (Evening BBA). For more information, visit business.mercer.edu.