Investment Research Challenge
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The CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge 

CFA Institute's Investment Research Challenge (IRC) is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students who participate in the Challenge gain real-world experience as they assume the role of a research analyst and are tested on their ability to value a stock, write an initiation-of-coverage report, and present their recommendations in-person to a panel of senior industry professionals. Students work in teams with other students (usually 3 to 5 people), representing their university in the global competition, to research and analyze a publicly traded stock, sometimes even meeting face-to-face with company management.

This IRC is coordinated at the local level by CFA Societies, like CFA Society San Francisco. CFA Society San Francisco sponsors the winning team of the Northern California Regional Challenge to travel and compete at the Americas regional challenge.

Get Involved

This event is not only open to students; there are many ways that our members can help make each year’s IRC cycle a success. We need mentors for each IRC group at local universities and college campuses. We also offer the opportunity to judge IRC reports before the challenge date and to judge the presentations on the challenge date in late Winter.

Please contact our Education Department ( to participate as a student, finance club, mentor, or volunteer.

2018 Northern California CFA Institute Research Challenge Winners

Orfalea College of Business, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

CFA Institute Research Challenge Timeline


  •  CFASF staff & volunteers coordinate with finance clubs across Northern California college & university campuses to recruit teams, mentors, and faculty sponsors


  •  Kick off meeting at CFASF office in San Francisco


  •  Educational session & FactSet Presentation at CFASF office in San Francisco


  •  Team sign up deadline
  • Conference call with the CFO of the company chosen for the IRC


  •  Written reports due


  •  IRC presentation day in San Francisco


  • Winning team presents at the Americas Regional Challenge