February 19, 2014 9:30AM
A group of Pittsburg State business students is taking a real-life shot at valuing a publicly traded company.
As part of the annual CFA Institute Research Challenge, students Xin Liu, Victoria McKinnon, Adilet Saralinov, Stuart Semple, and Brendan Sheehy have assumed the roles of research analysts and are being tested on their ability to value a stock and write an initiation-of-coverage report. The company they are studying is the Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway Company.
The students have worked as a team to research and analyze KCS, including meeting face-to-face with company management. On Saturday, Feb. 22, the students will travel to Kansas City to present their findings to a panel of judges that will include KCS management and mentors in the finance field.
The winner of the local Kansas City round of the Research Challenge will advance to regional competition in Denver, Colo. The winner from each regional competition will advance to the Global Final, where one team will emerge as global champion of the CFA Institute Research Challenge.
“This competition has been a lot of fun, but it’s also been quite the challenge,” McKinnon said. “We’ve spent many hours discussing our thoughts on the company and building them into a model that would forecast the financial statements we needed to value the company.”
McKinnon said the real-world aspects of the challenge will benefit the students in the future.
“This task is something we may very well encounter in our professional careers,” she said, “and it will be so good to know we’ve already been through something like that and will know how to proceed.”
Kevin Bracker, professor of economics, serves as the students’ adviser for the challenge.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to gain experience valuing a public stock,” he said. “The students are working very hard on this, and I’m anxious to see how they perform at the local competition on Saturday.”