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CFEM students win portfolio construction case competition

Friday, March 23, 2018

A team of Cornell students, including two from ORIE’s master’s in financial engineering (MFE) program, won the Parker Center for Investment Research’s Investment Portfolio Case Competition, jointly organized with Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan (CFEM).

CFEM students Zhaosu Cai and Tian Yuan Liu teamed with Kyle Horne and Lindsey Staley of the SC Johnson College of Business master’s in business administration program to claim first place in the competition at Cornell Tech earlier this month.

A total of 10 teams from a variety of M.B.A. and M.F.E. programs turned out for the event. Student teams were tasked with proposing a custom defined contribution plan. A panel of judges from J.P Morgan, Alliance Bernstein, Dimensional Fund Advisors, and TIAA listened to all presentations, and then selected four teams for the final round. All presenters were given limited time for their presentation, after which time the judges posed a broad range of questions to the teams.

Cornell sent two teams to the competition, both comprising of two first-year MFE and two MBA students.

In addition to competing in the case competition, these students enjoyed networking with professionals in asset management and have coffee chats with hiring managers.

“It was great to see Cornell students in action, tackling a very relevant and realistic problem that pension funds face today,” says Victoria Averbukh Ph.D. ’97, director of CFEM. “I am very proud of both Cornell teams as I believe they have offered creative and, potentially, robust solutions to a true investment challenge. This case competition is only one example of many opportunities offered to Cornell MFEs to learn from finance practitioners and showcase their skills to a variety of recruiters.”

Second place went to an M.B.A. team from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, while another team from Cornell claimed third place. New York University’s Stern School of Business took fourth place.

In addition to Cornell, Boston College, Columbia, New York University, the University of Chicago and Yale also had teams entered in the competition.

This is the second year a portfolio construction case competition has been offered by the Parker Center for Investment Research. A team of four CFEM students won the 2017 competition.

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