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LSBE Financial Markets Program Team Earns First Place

UMD LSBE students with first  
From left - Christian Roth, vice president and treasurer of Graco, with LSBE Research Challenge winners: Colt Wolfram, Appo Agbamu, Mike Pochucha, Phil d'Entremont, and Matt Murphy.  
Five students from the UMD’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics’ Financial Markets program recently earned first place in the local final of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute’s Annual Research Challenge in Minneapolis.

Appo Agbamu, Phil d’Entremont, Matt Murphy, Mike Pochucha, and Colt Wolfram competed against ten teams from three states with the final round between LSBE, Bethel University, Mankato State University, North Dakota State University, and the University of St. Thomas.

Teams conducted an extensive financial analysis on subject company, Graco Inc., which was selected by the Twin Cities’ CFA Society. Graco, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium fluid and coatings pumps based in Minneapolis, MN, and trades under the ticker symbol “GGG.”

The top five teams, judged accordingly by their written report, were invited to present their findings to a panel of CFA charter-holding industry judges. LSBE earned the right to advance to the Americas Regional round, as they accumulated the highest aggregate score based on their written research report and oral presentation. They will compete in the Americas Regional in Atlanta, Ga., April 15–16, along with over 60 teams from universities in North and South America that have won their local CFA Research Challenge.

“I am very happy for our team and their accomplishment,” said Joe Artim, director of the LSBE Financial Markets Program and the team’s faculty mentor. “For the past five years, we have had excellent teams in the local challenge and now, it’s extremely gratifying to have captured the local title and be able to represent our local group, our Financial Markets Program, LSBE, and UMD at the Americas Regional.”

"From the first day we assembled our team, we had our sights set on Atlanta. It is shocking to have a vision like that come to reality. It was a great feeling to finally bring that trophy back to our Financial Markets Lab, but we can't claim victory yet. This is only the beginning of the competition for us, and I can't wait to see how far we will go," said Colt Wolfram, CFA team member.

“Being able to bring the trophy back to Duluth was a surreal feeling,” said CFA team member Appo Agbamu. "It was something I'd visualized in my head, time and time again, over the last few months. It goes to show that if you dedicate yourself to a task and have faith, anything can happen. My four teammates are some of the hardest working people I've had the pleasure to work with. I'm excited to compete in Atlanta, and I have no doubt we'll be coming back with more hardware."

Teams from LSBE have advanced to the local final each year and have been runners up the past two years. “We have always had strong teams who excel at this type of challenge and competition,” added Artim. “This year’s team did an excellent job with the project and excelled in delivering their results at the presentation event. The purpose of the CFA Research Challenge is really to help develop best practices for future investment professionals and provide an opportunity for experienced practitioners to give back to the next generation. Overall, this year’s Challenge was a tremendous success.”  

"As a graduate of UMD and mentor of Bulldog students since the CFA Global Research Investment Challenge's inception in Minnesota, I couldn't be more proud," said Josh Hill '02, senior portfolio manager and co-director of equities at Windsor Financial Group, LLC in Minneapolis, Minn., and the team’s industry mentor.

"It's an amazing feeling to know that our hard work over the past months paid off," said Phil d’Entremont, CFA team member. "We're proud to be the first team from UMD to win the local presentation round of the CFA Research Challenge. We spent countless hours with each other finding the best ways to construct our report and presentation, and to be able to advance to the next round is a great accomplishment. We're very proud and excited to represent UMD at the next level in Atlanta."
About LSBE
LSBE is accredited by the AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Less than 5% of business schools worldwide have earned this prestigious distinction. In Northeastern Minnesota, LSBE is the only school to have attained AACSB accreditation.  Its website is

Written by Gina Grensing. March, 2015.

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