Last year, a team of Orfalea College of Business students won the San Francisco CFA Investment Research Challenge for their project on Salesforce. The project included in-depth financial research and analysis on the company along with financial recommendations. Members of the company’s leadership happened to attend the team’s presentation and they were impressed, so impressed, in fact, that they gave each member of the team special press and analyst access at the 2018 Dreamforce Conference.
Dreamforce is a four-day event for Salesforce customers, partners, employees and stakeholders featuring 2,700 sessions with thought leaders from various industries. This year’s speakers included Former Vice President and Chairman of Generation Investment Management Al Gore, Salesforce Chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff, National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Sylvia A. Earle, and NBA player and entrepreneur Andre Iguodala.
The students’ press and analyst access allowed them to meet with the Salesforce board and have lunch with Salesforce CFO Mark Hawkins. They also met and mingled with Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money. Finance Professor Cyrus Ramezani, who advised the student team and attended Dreamforce with them, saw the conference as a fantastic networking opportunity. He enjoyed seeing his students “make connections with industry leaders and other finance professionals.”
Back on campus, two more student teams are preparing to defend the CFA Investment Research Challenge title. In November, they will each be assigned a company they will analyze and develop a report with a buy, sell or hold recommendation.
Like their predecessors, the teams hope not just to perform well at the competition, but also to build relationships with companies and other professionals. Ramezani has confidence that the teams will deliver. “Our students are dedicated, thorough and professional,” he said. “They displayed it at Dreamforce, and they will display it in the next competition.”