Charter(ing) a bold path - Collins College of Business

Charter(ing) a bold path

The team of Eric Aplis, Marcos Buitrago Gomez, Morgan Kubala and Christian Sherman is one of only 15 teams advancing to compete at the Americas level of the CFA Institute Research Challenge. In this annual global competition, teams take on the role of equity research analysts, prepare a valuation report for a publicly traded company and present it to a panel of high-profile judges. Participating students gain real-world experience and sharpen their financial analysis and presentation skills.

The TU team’s ascent began when members scored first place at the Oklahoma Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) 2021 Research Challenge sponsored by the CFA Society Oklahoma. This is the second year in a row that a TU team has won the competition.

Zoom screen with three men and one woman
Top row: Christian Sherman, Marcos Buitrago Gomez Bottom row: Morgan Kubala, Eric Aplis

The Oklahoma CFA 2021 Research Challenge competition comprised two stages. During the first stage, each team prepared a written report – TU’s focused on the Bank of Oklahoma — and submitted it to a panel of five judges. In these reports, they analyzed the finances of a publicly traded company and generated investment recommendation. In the second stage, which was held on Feb. 27, the teams presented their reports to another panel of five judges in a virtual format, followed by a Q&A session.

Subsequently, on March 19, the team competed against teams from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri, emerging victorious at the sub-regionals. This means they will now advance to the regional (Americas) competition.

“The whole competition really immersed us in what it takes to get a thorough evaluation together based not only on one or two trends, but by going through years of financial statements, evaluating macroeconomic trends and paying close attention to the socio-political climate and its impact,” said Aplis, a finance major. “Most importantly, it’s allowed us to demonstrate the skills we have been able to develop and apply them in a real-world scenario. Through both internships and class experience, students can get a pretty wide range of experience, but it’s great to find opportunities like this to apply what we have spent so much time learning in the classroom.”

TU’s team was mentored by Assistant Professor of Finance Tatiana Salikhova. “It was more challenging to coordinate the team’s work during these pandemic times,” said Salikhova. “We experienced a few technical problems, including right before the submission. I am proud of all the team members, and their success is evidence of great perseverance and analytical skills.”

In addition, Nick Gallus, a CFA and senior vice president and director of investment research with Trust Company Oklahoma, served as the team’s industry mentor. He brought a valuable sector perspective and helped the team prepare for the Q&A session.


With eight undergraduate majors to choose from, at the Collins College of Business you’re bound to find the business path that leads to your success.