Two Notre Dame Teams Finish in Top Ten at CQA Investment Challenge

Author: Noelle Gasper

On April 5th at their spring conference in Las Vegas, the Chicago Quantitative Alliance (CQA) announced that two Notre Dame teams placed in the top ten in their annual CQA Investment Challenge.

Notre Dame Gold placed 3rd out of 47 teams. ND Gold was led by Sarah Graney and comprised of team members Lan Zhou, Ben Shepard, Noel Vincent, and Arianna Deshpande.

Notre Dame Blue placed 7th overall. ND Blue was led by Devon Krapcho and comprised of team members Griffin Over, Erin Shang, Diego Casteneda, and Carolyn Nilsen.

The CQA Investment Challenge is an annual equity portfolio management competition that runs from October to April. The goal of the competition is to successfully manage a long-term equity long/short market neutral portfolio. CQA bridges the gap between students who have interest in portfolio management and industry leaders, by providing students with the chance to gain practical experience,  receive mentoring from professionals, and expand their network in the field. Colleges and universities from all over the country compete in the CQA Investment Challenge, and in the past five years participation has grown from fifteen schools to nearly fifty.

Participants agreed that they were extremely pleased with the outcomes, especially since the Challenge has gotten more competitive in recent years.

“I really enjoyed leading the Blue team this year, and I was excited to see the results,” Krapcho said. “We had a growth-driven strategy that Johann, our mentor, helped us develop and we ended up with great returns. The team learned a lot along the way.”

“Two Top 10 teams is a terrific outcome,” NDIGI Managing Director Kevin Burke added. “These teams worked together on this competition for the whole academic year.  They truly took advantage of the opportunity to partner with practitioners and engage in this experiential learning project.”

University teams are coached by a faculty member from their school as well as by a CQA member, who also serves as mentor. According to CQA, in order to win, students must demonstrate that their portfolio has strong absolute return and risk adjusted return. Students must also develop a presentation that successfully showcases their strategy.

By participating, students have the opportunity to develop their stock selection and portfolio management skills in a real-life experience. Additionally, the Challenge is a great chance for students to have fun and put classroom theories into practice while also gaining exposure to and insight from successful investment firms and practitioners.

The Chicago Quantitative Alliance (CQA) is an investment company that focuses on quantitative analysis. The organization is not only comprised of leading quantitative investment practitioners, but also investment managers, consultants, academics, plan sponsors, and more. The company has managed the CQA Investment Challenge since 2013.