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Nicholls students test business analysis skills in global competition

THIBODAUX – A team of undergraduate and graduate students from the Nicholls State University College of Business Administration will submit its final entry to the CFA Institute Research Challenge this week, pitting their business-analysis acumen against students from throughout the region.

Pictured from left, in the Michele D. Guidry Executive MBA Classroom at Nicholls State University, are Brett Cazenave, MBA student from Vacherie; Michelle Connell, chartered financial advisor and partner with Innovator VC Due Diligence; Aaron Ayme, MBA graduate from Destrehan; Nolan Dumas, MBA graduate from Thibodaux; Kevin Gibson, senior finance major from Houma; and Brad LeBoeuf, MBA student from Larose.

The contest requires team members to analyze a public company, write a comprehensive report and present stock recommendations to a panel of experts. The Nicholls team, under the mentorship of Michelle P. Connell, a chartered financial advisor from Houston, Texas, analyzed the performance of GameStop, the world’s largest multichannel video game retailer.

“These guys on the Nicholls team are our rock stars, in terms of their analytical skills,” Dr. John Lajaunie, professor of finance and faculty advisor, said. “Competing institutions include Tulane, LSU, Rice University, Texas A&M and other top schools, so this contest puts our students in the class of competition where they belong.”

Lajaunie handpicked the members of the Nicholls team with Dr. Shari Lawrence, associate professor of finance. Team members, who have been researching GameStop since November 2011, include Aaron Ayme, Brett Cazenave, Nolan Dumas, Kevin Gibson and Brad LeBeouf.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for some of our best students to compete with students from top business schools on a real-world project,” Dr. Shawn Mauldin, dean of the College of Business Administration, said. “It also provides great exposure for Nicholls and our college.”

The participants took advantage of recently acquired Nicholls technology, via the Michele D. Guidry Executive MBA Classroom, to prepare their entry. Dedicated in May 2011, the classroom accommodates 20 students in a boardroom environment and includes a viewing monitor that allows interactive writing and recording on the screen, ceiling-mounted surround speakers and a high resolution projector.

To learn more about the competition, as well as the CFA Institute, go to cfainstitute.org/partners/challenge/Pages/index.aspx.

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