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This spring, five students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) participated in the Benelux edition of the prestigious CFA Institute Research Challenge; an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics. Under the guidance of coach Dr Solomon Zori, senior lecturer in RSM’s department of Accounting, two teams of five students – two students in the master in Finance and Investments programme, two second-year IBA students and one MBA student – were selected to compete against 15 other school teams from the Benelux region. While one RSM team unfortunately did not advance to the report stage, the other team soared, earning them the runner-up position.  

Early victory and region-wide recognition

From the outset of the competition, RSM’s two teams proved formidable. At the introduction session in The Hague, one of the two RSM teams topped the quiz on sustainable asset valuation and environmental, social and governance (ESG) knowledge. A win that earned them access to the valuable Morning Star Database – a prize worth € 250 per student. This early victory set the stage for their continued excellence.

The competition required each team to evaluate an assigned company. RSM's Team 1 was to assess Aalberts N.V., in which they excelled, winning the overall Best Report award. The secret to their success? A compelling investment thesis, an intricate financial model and a meticulously crafted equity research report.

Final round and preparation

The journey culminated in the final presentation round at Euronext Amsterdam, where RSM Team 1 delivered a formidable performance. However, despite their best efforts, they were narrowly overtaken by Utrecht University, and secured a commendable second place.

Preparation for the CFA Institute Research Challenge Benelux region competition was intense. In addition to their studies, students dedicated hundreds of hours to prepare for the competition, and their coach, Dr Zori, invested 12 to 15 hours in coaching and another 10 hours in event support. The effort was worth it, as participation in the CFA Institute Research Challenge Benelux region is highly regarded by employers. Having competed, the participating students' CVs have been enhanced and this experience has provided them with unparalleled career preparation.

Ultimately, University of Waterloo, Canada was named Global Champion of the 2024 CFA Institute Research Challenge at the final round of the competition on 16 May 2024 in Warsaw, Poland.

Hands-on learning experience

The hands-on learning experience gained from this competition has been invaluable, offering students the chance to network with judges and industry professionals, gain practical insights, and apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world context.

Congratulations to the dedicated RSM students and coach for their stellar performances!

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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