Event Overview

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global equity research competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students gain real-world experience as they assume the role of a research analyst and are tested on their ability to value a stock, write an initiation-of-coverage report, and present their recommendations.

The Challenge offers students the unique opportunity to develop and present an equity research report and compete on a global basis. Students learn from leading industry experts and their mentors and peers from the world’s top business schools. This annual educational initiative is designed to promote best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts through hands-on mentoring and intensive training in company analysis and presentation skills.

2018 Global Participation
5,500+  Students
3,500+  Volunteers
1,100+  Universities
150  Local Societies
112  Local Challenges
87  Countries

The CFA Institute Research Challenge comprises:

  • Analysis of a publicly traded company

Teams research a publicly traded company. The company’s management presents information to the student teams and is available to answer student questions.

  • Mentoring by a professional research analyst

Each team works with a CFA charterholder who mentors the team during the research process and reviews and critiques its report.

  • Writing a research report

Each team produces an Initiation of Coverage report on the chosen company. The report is reviewed and scored by a group of judges.

  • Presentation of research to a panel of experts

The teams’ final presentations are locally evaluated by panels of experts from top financial institutions. Panelists include heads of research, portfolio managers, and chief investment officers from the world’s top firms. The team with the highest combined written report and presentation score is the winner and advances to the regional level of the Research Challenge.

  • Local level

The competition season begins in October. In late-October teams must be assembled and the Subject Company will be announced and a mentor assigned. Written reports are submitted to CFA Society Emirates in mid-January. The presentation round then occurs in mid-February. The winner of the Local level is based on 50% presentation and 50% written report.

  • Regional level:

The winner from the Local level will advance to the Regional level, the EMEA Region, which is hosted by CFA Institute.

  • Global level:

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

CFA Society Emirates, the local UAE member society of CFA Institute, will host its annual research challenge in the UAE in 2019 for the 10th consecutive year.

More on CFA Institute Research Challenge.

CFA Institute Research Challenge Official Rules 2018 – 2019 Season

Research Challenge Fact Sheet

Global Competition Schedule and Locations

University teams begin their activities in the fall, with local competitions occurring throughout the world at various times early in the calendar year. Regional competitions and the global final are held in March and April.
Event Details Date Location
Asia Pacific Regional Week of 25 March 2019 Sydney, Australia
EMEA Week of 8 April 2019 Zurich, Switzerland
Americas Regional Week of 21 April 2019 New York, USA
Global Final Week of 21 April 2019 New York, USA

Get Involved – Students

Each year, thousands of university students participate in the CFA Institute Research Challenge. These students interact with investment professionals and top firms while obtaining real-world experience in equity analysis, research report writing, and presentation skills.

CFA Institute Student Welcome

Get Involved – Volunteers

We rely on our CFA charterholders and other financial professionals to serve as event organizers, faculty advisers, industry mentors, graders, and judges at the local, regional, and global levels of competition.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Advising a university team: Faculty advisers provide a link between the local challenge hosts and their university; they assemble the team for their university and guide students through all levels of the competition.
  • Mentoring students: Student teams are assigned industry mentors to assist them throughout the competition. The time spent with each team is limited to six hours.
  • Grading student research reports: Report graders review, critique, and score the student teams’ research reports.
  • Judging student presentations: Judges listen to, critique, and score the student teams’ presentations. Each presentation is 10 minutes in length followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers.
  • Time keeper and master of ceremonies roles at the competition.

If you would like to learn more about available volunteer opportunities with the Research Challenge, please contact us.

CFA Institute Volunteer Welcome

CFA Society Emirates Research Challenge Timeline

September 2018

Universities form teams and start registration process. CFA Institute will be introducing a new registration system in mid-September.

Sunday, 14 October 2018
Kick-off conference call with all participating teams.  Subject Company will be officially announced, timelines discussed, rules covered and questions answered.

Sunday, 21 October 2018
For those teams that indicate that they want a team mentor, an industry professional will be assigned to your team by this time. This is also the deadline for teams to indicate to the Society if they’ve found their own team mentor.  Mentors will register on the CFA Institute online registration page.

November 2018
Deadline date for all team members to complete the official CFA Institute online registration on the CFA Institute website (login required).

Late November 2018
Deadline to submit 3 questions to CFA Society Emirates for Subject Company conference call.

Early December 2018
CFO call

Thursday, 27 December 2018
First draft of written report due to Industry Mentor.

Thursday, 14 February 2019 by 5 PM
Written report due to CFA Society Emirates. E-mail to sevan@cfaemirates.com & projects1@cfaemirates.com

Friday, 22 February 2019
Presentations and Winner announced.

March 2019

MENA CFA Societies Runners Up Challenge

Week of 8 April 2019

Winner of UAE Competition compete at Regional competition in Zurich.

Week of 21 April 2019 

Winner of Regional competitions compete at global finals in New York.

2018 CFA Institute Research Challenge Video Archive

Interview: Ted Stephenson, CFA, CFA Society Emirates | 2018 RESEARCH CHALLENGE GLOBAL FINAL

Past UAE Champions Reports and Presentations

Congratulation to American University in Dubai for winning the 2017 – 2018 CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge.

American University in Dubai Winning Team

Anna Chekanova, Rim Ghalayini, Jihad Chaouk, Nazli Orazalyyeva and Andrew Girgis










University of Sharjah Runners Up

Ahmad Awwad, Ted,  Ibrahim Abdelkhaleq,  Bader Elddine Al-Sarawan, Belal Ghassan,  Huda Al-Dajani and the Dean of Business at U of S “Prof Molyneux”!

2018 Reports and Presentations will be posted after the MENA Runner Up and Regional level.

2018 Winning Report: American University in Dubai-1

2018 Winning Presentation: AUD CFA Presentation RAK Ceramics

2018 Runner Up Report: RAK Ceramics University of Sharjah

2018 Runner Up Presentation: RAK Ceramics U of S

2017 Winning Report: SP Jain (Team A) Submission CFA IRC

2017 Winning Presentation: SPJ-A