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Investment Challenge

What is the Chicago Quantitative Alliance (CQA)?
The CQA is a professional organization comprised of leading quantitative investment practitioners. The CQA membership includes investment managers, academics, plan sponsors, consultants, and other investment professionals. The primary goal of the CQA is to facilitate the interchange of ideas between quantitative professionals. For a list of firms with members in CQA see the Companies link. Membership to CQA is selective and members are chosen based upon their background and qualifications.

What is the CQA Investment Challenge?
The CQA Investment Challenge is an equity portfolio management competition that offers students the opportunity to learn and apply stock selection and portfolio management skills. The competition exposes students to simulated real life hedge fund techniques. The contest focuses on both return and risk in evaluating the competitor’s skill and success. CQA members are actively involved in the competition as mentors to the participating teams. The competition requires equity research and portfolio management skills.

How does the Challenge work?

  • The objective is to successfully manage an equity long/short market neutral portfolio over the course of the academic year.
  • The contest runs from mid-October through March
  • One team per university. A team can consist of undergraduate junior/senior and/or MBA students. Typically there are between 3 to 5 members per team.
  • A faculty professor is responsible for selecting and guiding the team.
  • Each team has a CQA member serving as a mentor and advisor.
  • The contest utilizes the Stock-Trak investment simulation platform
  • The winning team will be determined by the combination of absolute return, risk adjusted return and an evaluation of a strategy presentation. The judging criteria will emphasize risk adjusted returns.
  • Prizes will include $3,000 in prize money distributed across the top three teams ( $1,500, $1,000, and $500). The winning team professor will be invited to attend a CQA conference in Chicago (September) or Las Vegas (April). The resumes of the winning team members will be circulated to all CQA members.

Why participate?

For Students

  • Enjoy the competition and have a chance to enhance your resume.
  • Gain access to and insights from successful quantitative investment practitioners.
  • Gain experience managing a hedge fund mandate.


  • Gain exposure to successful quantitative investment firms and practitioners
  • Provide students with the opportunity to apply classroom theories in a simulated “real world” setting
  • Showcase your students and university.
  • Have an opportunity to attend a premier quantitative investment conference and interact with leading investment professionals. (Airfare and Hotel expenses are covered by CQA)


For more information, please contact one of these CQA Members:

John Wightkin John.Wightkin@Schwab.com                         Paul Bukowski Paul.Bukowski@himco.com
Dave Coughenour dcoughenour@chicagoequity.com         Trish Halper phalper@chicagoequity.com