UH Bauer’s Cougar Fund is Only American School To Place in Top 3 of Prestigious Stock Analysis Competition

A team of students from the University of Houston C.T. Bauer College of Business placed ahead of Rutgers University and the University of Spain after making it to the final five of CFA’s Global Investment Research Challenge May 1. The top winner was Hong Kong Baptist University. University of New Brunswick placed second.

Dr. Tom George, Bauer Professor of Finance and Director of the AIM Center for Investment Management at Bauer, was exultant over the incredible achievement.

“We are all way past simply being proud of these students,” he said. “Their accomplishment is phenomenal! This team is representative of the spirit we see in so many Bauer students who leverage their education experience here into amazing achievements.”

This was the first year Bauer participated in the challenge. After beating teams from the University of Texas, Rice University and other Texas schools, the Bauer students traveled to New York City, where they outperformed other business school powerhouses such as Babson College and Carnegie-Mellon University, who participated in earlier rounds.

Members of the winning team include Joe Corkin, Mauricio Franco, John Keeton, and Quyen Nguyen, all graduate students in Bauer’s Finance department.

The team was given a company to analyze – Men’s Wearhouse – less than three months before their winning presentation. Working with assigned mentor Pearce Hammond, with Simmons and Co., the four students put more than 100 hours into a written analysis of the company and presentation.

“All four of us worked extremely hard in putting our analysis and presentation together,” said Keeton, team leader. “We are a team of detail oriented perfectionists. Each one of us played such a vital role for the team's success in the entire process, from the beginning analysis of the company, to the final presentation.”

Keeton said the experience of competing against other teams that he advanced to the worldwide level of the competition was something he will never forget. The team also had the thrill of seeing themselves televised on the big NASDAQ screen in Times Square.

“Because of this entire experience, from competing against the top schools that advanced worldwide in the competition, to presenting in front of a number of high-level executives in the financial world, I believe all of us have taken a step forward in our business lives,” Keeton said.

One of Bauer College’s strengths – showcased during competitions such as this – is that most students work while going to school, George said.

“Our students work full-time and have more business experience and a clearer world view than many students do. They’ve got to juggle the demands of working and going to school and it takes a lot of maturity to do that.

“There really is an advantage to having people work and go to school part-time and it creates significant value added for a degree program like ours,” George added.

Keeton also credited the value of participating in the AIM Center’s Cougar Investment Fund, a private, multi-million dollar fund managed by Bauer graduate students.

“This competition meant a great deal to us,” Keeton said. “With all of us being in the Cougar Fund, we have all had experience in analyzing the valuation of companies. We all have truly appreciated this opportunity and have enjoyed the experience. What we learned will help us to advance our careers in the investment/securities industry.

“We wanted to show everyone that the University of Houston can represent itself well, not only among the top schools in the state, but in the nation and in the world.”

In addition to funding their trip to New York City for the May 1 competition, the CFA Institute will waive team members’ fees for the Level I Chartered Financial Analyst exam.