Fletcher’s Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) team advances to final round of regional challenge

From left to right, the Fletcher debate team, Ashraya Dixit MIB, F18, Adi Sarosa MIB, F18, Mariya Ilyas, MALD F18, Doris Hernandez, MALD F18, and JP Craven, MIB F19, pose for a group portrait on March 29, 2018. Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) team advanced to the final round at the Americas Regional Challenge after winning the local final of the CFA Institute Research Challenge, an annual research competition in global financial analysis, last month. While the team did not advance to the global round of the competition, they stand as the most successful Fletcher CFA team since the beginning of the school’s involvement in the Challenge five years ago, according to the team’s faculty advisor Patrick Schena, an adjunct assistant professor of international business at Fletcher.

The team consisted of Adi Sarosa, a second-year Master of International Business (MIB) student; Ashraya Dixit, also a second-year MIB student; Doris Hernandez, a second-year Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) student; Mariya Ilyas, a second-year MALD student and JP Craven, a first-year MIB student. The team is advised by Schena and industry mentor P. Cameron Hyzer, CFO of Eze Software.

The team says their diversity of backgrounds and experiences has been a significant factor for its success.

“What’s important, too, is that not all of us are finance people,” Hernandez explained. “There are three MIB and two MALD students, so we each have our own lanes we focus on. Mariya focused on the regulatory aspect, Ashraya focused on the models and JP did the financial analysis.”

Schena also emphasized the team’s ability to work together as a critical aspect of the challenge.

“You can bring these technical experiences, but it doesn’t work unless people come together as a team,” he said.

The Fletcher team began in September, competing with 12 other teams, all from Boston-area schools, in the challenge. At the first level of competition, all 12 teams were tasked with submitting research papers on the medical device manufacturing company Boston Scientific, according to Hernandez.

The team had eight weeks, until Dec. 1st, to prepare a 10-page report based on the competition criteria.

“It’s specifically an equity report. We had to make buy, sell, or hold recommendations,” Craven said.

In October, all of the teams attended a presentation by Susan Lisa, the vice president of investor relations at Boston Scientific. This was the team’s first and only opportunity to meet with someone related to Boston Scientific, Ilyas said.

The team looked for any opportunity to learn about the company.

“After the presentation, it was talking with doctors, hospitals, consultants, engineers, and anyone who might know anything about the medical device industry,” Hernandez explained.

On Jan. 10, the Fletcher team along with three others of the original 12 were selected to advance to the next round to present their report, Hernandez and Ilyas said. The team presented their findings on Feb. 12 at the Boston-region competition, emerging as the region’s winner for the first time ever, they said.   

The team then advanced to the Americas Regional competition, which featured 54 out of the original 500 Americas teams, Hernandez and Ilyas said.

The Fletcher team emerged as one of 10 semi-final winners. Those 10 teams then competed for two spots in the global final competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to take place on April 28. The Fletcher team did not advance, Hernandez and Ilyas said.

“The CFA Challenge has been an spectacular opportunity to apply my background in government and insurance, sharpen my financial skills, and learn from extremely accomplished and talented classmates,” Ilyas said in an email to the Daily. “This competition is one of the most unique experiences I have had at Fletcher and I will cherish it for a lifetime!”

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to reflect that Boston Scientific manufactures medical devices.


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