GRA 6562 CFA Research Challenge

GRA 6562 CFA Research Challenge

Course code: 
GRA 6562
Course coordinator: 
Janis Berzins
Product category: 
MSc in Finance
2019 Autumn
Active status: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

The course focuses on developing valuation skills to produce an equity analyst report on a company, presentation skills to develop an effective presentation based on the report, and debating skills to effectively conduct a Q&A session. The skills developed in the course will allow students to sucessfully compete in CFA Research Challenge.

The course is seminar-based, and students will focus on understanding one company in depth: working on business description, industry and competition analysis, developing report of company expected financials, valuation, and risk analysis. Students will be challenged to understand company well enough to come up with a compelling economic investment thesis of company future developments. 

The course is a combination of regular meetings, which will start in October and end at the end of December (slowing down for the exam period), visits from various industry and academic guest lecturers on valuation topics, soft skills such as presentation and communication skills, and visits of previous competition groups on key competition skills. Internal elimination round is in December/January.

Students are expected to compete, but it is not necessary for the course. Priority will be given to those who want to compete. The course grade is independent of the competition.

For further information about the Research Challenge, see

Learning outcomes - Knowledge
  • Ability to identify sources of value in a business and transform them in investment thesis
Learning outcomes - Skills
  • Write an equity analyst report
  • Perfect an equity analyst pitch
  • Develop soft skills in handling Q&A sessions
General Competence


  1. digital modeling skills
  2. internationally recognized analysis skills
  3. recognize value of sustainable business model
Course content

Full valuation of a real life case,

Financial statement analysis, 

Equity analyst report,

Review of valuation methods/theory,

Soft communication skills.

Teaching and learning activities

Applicants are selected competitively before the start of the semester.

The course, is applied, industry- and skills-oriented, and applicable to many career paths in finacne and is a fantastic oportunity to enhance your CV and overall marketability.The structure of the course will prepare you for the CFA Research Challenge- one of the toughest international case competitions- organized by the CFA Institue and based on the best international practices in finance. As part of the course, you will compete for a chance to participate in a national elimination round. The winner of the national round proceeds to the EMEA regional round. As part of the preparation, you will work with an industry mentor to fine-tune your analysis, presentation, and Q&A setup.

You will have weekly meetings with faculty and\or industry mentor or guest lecturer to develop the report and to rehearse the presentation. Guest lecturers will focus on on communication skills, valuation topics, competition skills, or will conduct practice presentations.

The course builds on the valuation skills developed in the Corporate Finance, Applied Valuation or similar courses. The course will introduce you to the work of financial analysts by conducting an in-depth analysis of one company. You will learn how to produce an efficient analyst report and how to communicate your results by presenting your findings and arguing for buy or sell recommendation based on your case. You will:

  • Review how valuation approaches such as Enterprise Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Adjusted Present Value, Equity DCF multiples relate to the company value.
  • Communicate concisely an economic argument of your valuation thesis
  • Incorporate overall business analysis in the company valuation.
  • Understand how to focus you report to efficiently communication your findings.
  • Master sensitivity analysis to support your arguments.
Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam elements will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades when the course starts.

At resit, all exam components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course.

Honour Code

Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and represent values that are encouraged and promoted by the honour code system. This is a most significant university tradition. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the ideals of the honour code system, to which the faculty are also deeply committed.

Any violation of the honour code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures for cheating. These issues are a serious matter to everyone associated with the programs at BI and are at the heart of the honour code and academic integrity. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honour code, please ask.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Required prerequisite knowledge

Corporate Finance and/or Appied Valuation course.

Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
Grading scale:
Point scale
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
50No8 Week(s)Group (1 - 6) Written report
Exam category:
Form of assessment:
Presentation and discussion
Exam code:
Grading scale:
Point scale
Grading rules:
Internal examiner
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
50No1 Semester(s)Group/Individual (1 - 6)
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Grouping (size):Group (1-6)
Duration:8 Week(s)
Comment: Written report
Exam code:GRA65621
Grading scale:Point scale
Resit:All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category:Activity
Form of assessment:Presentation and discussion
Grouping (size):Group/Individual (1-6)
Duration:1 Semester(s)
Exam code:GRA65621
Grading scale:Point scale
Resit:All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Continuous assessment
Grading scale: 
Total weight: 
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.