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A 4-month CFA research journey with Lufthansa
Master of Finance / 31. Mai 2024
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Master of Finance student, Class of 2023
He was born in China and raised in Spain, holds a Bachelor's degree from Carlos III University of Madrid, with experience at Savills, Amazon, and KPMG.

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The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition which offers students the opportunity to showcase their financial analysis and valuation techniques with hands-on mentoring from both academic and industry experts. The competition was held on a national level with 9 participating teams this year, including renowned institutions such as WHU, RWTH Aachen, EBS and Goethe. The task was to submit an equity research report on the same publicly traded company. In our case, the CFA Society Germany selected Deutsche Lufthansa AG as the subject company, the leader in the German airline industry. Each team had the same amount of time, from early November until mid-January, to work on the report. After the submission and two weeks of waiting time, only the top three teams were eventually chosen to present their results to a distinguished panel of CFA charterholders and industry executives, including representatives from Lufthansa itself. Finally, the champion was determined among the top three teams and competes further at the EMEA and global levels.

The Report

Our team, representing Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in the competition, was composed of Aref Mazloumiyan, Jiapeng Wei, Maximilian Zöller, and myself. Our faculty advisor was Prof. Olaf Stotz of Frankfurt School, and industry mentor was Mr. Thomas Altmann of QC Partners. The kick-off event was an online company presentation held on November 7th by the CFA Society Germany personnel and Dennis Weber, Lufthansa’s Vice President of Investor Relations, the department in which the financial and operational information of the company was disclosed, and in the end, all the participating teams had the chance to ask 3 questions to further understand the company.

After the event, the hard work began. The report is limited to 10 pages with up to 20 pages appendix, and consists of several parts: Investment summary, business description, industry overview, valuation, financial analysis, investment risks and ESG. We divided up the work and started from scratch. We focused on the “qualitative” parts first, such as business description, industry overview and ESG, which don’t involve a lot of numbers and calculation.

By the end of November, we had finished the aforementioned parts and could devote our time to the final exams in mid-December. After the exam, we continued with the remaining parts, which were more “quantitative”, such as valuation, financial analysis and investment risks. With all the parts done, we summarized the whole report in 1 page of the investment summary for Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Finally, after many and many reworking, rewriting, redrafting, and revision between ourselves and academic and industry advisors, we submitted our 10-page report along with 8-page appendix to the CFA Society Germany.

The End

It was not a surprise to us that we were selected as one of the top three teams in Germany, yet it was still an exhilarating moment, one milestone achieved! This result was built on countless hours of intense effort, intricate research, numerous mentor meetings, endless Zoom calls, and an admirable teamwork spirit that we had cultivated. We knew that our hard work and dedication had to be rewarded somehow, and indeed, it paid off.

Nevertheless, we were still very excited to present our results at Lufthansa’s HQ in Frankfurt and compete together with the other two excellent teams from WHU and RWTH Aachen. We were the first team to present in from of the CFA jury. Although a bit nervous, we performed our best as we had practiced many times beforehand. During the Q&A session, each of us got a chance to express our perspectives and answer questions posed by the experienced jury. After the presentation, the long wait began as the other two teams took their turn. As the evening progressed, the moment of truth arrived. The eagerly awaited winning announcement was made, declaring us the 2nd place winner in the the CFA Society Germany 2023-24. This marked not just an award, but a celebration of our collective efforts, strength and resilience. Our journey held a profound learning exposure which we would forever cherish.

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