Nicholls Competitive Financial Analysis Team Heads to Regional Finals

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University Chartered Financial Analyst competitive team will compete in the finals of the Southwest U.S. Research Challenge at Rice University on Saturday, Feb. 22. 

Competing for Nicholls are: 

  • Breanne Cazenave, a senior accounting and finance double major from Luling 
  • Megan White, a senior accounting and finance double major from Pierre Part 
  • Preston Thibodeaux, a senior accounting and finance double major from Baton Rouge 
  • Carlos Calderone, a senior finance major from Morgan City 
  • Terry Dupre, an MBA graduate student from Houma 

Among the finalists, Nicholls is the only school from Louisiana and the only school not located in Texas. The other teams are Baylor University, Rice University, St. Mary’s University, Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, the University of Dallas and West Texas A&M University.  

This year’s Nicholls team was sponsored and advised by Dr. John Lajaunie, professor of finance, and Dr. Shari Lawrence, professor of finance. 

“Our students are consistently able to compete against major universities. To be this successful, really speaks highly of our students and their abilities,” Dr. Lawrence said. “As a small teaching university, we have dedicated faculty who give our students a lot of 1-on-1 attention. This is not just myself and Dr. Lajaunie. It’s all of the teachers they have had at Nicholls to bring them to this point.”

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition. It provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company — sometimes even meeting face-to-face with company management. Each team writes a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell or hold recommendation. Teams may be asked to present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals.

Each team completes a comprehensive financial analysis case study and makes recommendations based on their analysis. In the first round, scoring is weighted toward their written work. In the finals they will be tested not only on their analysis, but on their ability to communicate their findings. 

Teams will have 20 minutes to discuss their findings; 10 minutes to present and another 10 minutes to answer questions from a panel of judges. First place will advance to nationals in New York City on April 20-21 for a chance to compete globally. 

This is the fifth time in the last nine years that Nicholls has made the regional finals, including a trip to nationals in 2015. 

“This is yet another great group of students. This is a very, very intense, comprehensive exercise and our students have done an amazing job,” Dr. LaJaunie said. “We’re one of the smallest public schools that compete. We’re one of those schools that’s not supposed to make it. But I tell my team that they can beat any school we’re matched up against because we have a history of doing just that.” 

CFA Institute is a global association of investment professionals with more than 150,000 charters worldwide in more than 165 countries and territories. 

For more information on the Department of Finance, visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or