Four business students from different points in their academic journey worked together and used tools at Chapman University to win a local competition.
Omar Bakhsh (MBA ’23), Brian Lymberopoulos ’23, Kate Miller ’24 and Katya Ivanho ’25 bested teams from five other universities in the local CFA Institute Research Challenge. Argyros School of Business and Economics Dean Henrik Cronqvist called it the first win for Argyros’ new Burra School of Accounting and Finance.
Each team was given a publicly-traded company to analyze. They studied the company’s financials and business structure and did a report and presentation for a hypothetical portfolio manager.
“Ultimately we’re either giving them a buy recommendation or a sell recommendation. Like if you were an investor, should we buy this, or should we sell?” says Ivanho, a business administration major.
She and her teammates were advised by Professor Fadel Lawandy, who runs the business school’s Janes Financial Center and C. Larry Hoag Center for Real Estate and Finance. They started working on their report in October and did a live presentation at the competition, which Chapman hosted in February.
“We managed to spend the whole month of January just writing this report,” says Lymberopoulos, a business administration major who will work for commercial real estate advising company Green Street in Newport Beach. “For my first two years at this firm I’ll be doing market research, so I was really excited to get this experience.”
The Janes center, which the team used while putting together their presentation, is home to 12 Bloomberg terminals, which track markets, industries, companies and securities.
“Some of the other teams commented on our facilities when they came here – ‘Oh, my gosh! You’ve got so many Bloomberg terminals’,” Lymberopoulos says.
Miller, an economics and business administration double major who is part of Janes’ residency program, says the center has given her experience managing deadlines and projects in addition to her classes, given her a professional setting to work with peers and helped her learn technical terms for understanding fixed income.
She hopes that given the team’s success this academic year, “next year’s team can harness this momentum after watching our team chemistry and hard work, and run even further than we did.”
Lymberopoulos says the center gave the team the opportunity to compete in the CFA challenge and the skills they’ll need in the workforce.
Although the team didn’t advance beyond the sub-regional round of the competition, they are using the experience to forge their way to finance careers.
Miller is interning this summer with PIMCO in New York City. Ivanho did a first-year internship in investment banking and is doing another internship in venture capital. Bakhsh, who has experience in wealth management, says he is looking forward to applying the skills he’s acquired in the MBA program.
The Chapman team had a great dynamic working on the CFA challenge, Lymberopoulos says – which bodes well for their future careers.
“It’s interesting because we all are different ages,” Lymberopoulos says. “But we had such a great collaborative team, which translated into our presentation. We’re like-minded individuals, we all have the same goal and work well together. It’s really the path to success.”