Conestoga news

March 15, 2013 1:18 PM

College experience leads to real-world success

Frank Zhang completed an undergraduate degree at Tsinghua University, the #1 ranked school of China’s more than 2300 colleges and universities.

Hoping to broaden his experience and prepare for a successful career in finance, Zhang then turned to Conestoga’s post-graduate certificate program in Financial Planning Services.

The intensive 8-month program, launched in 2008, was designed by financial professionals with the goal of providing graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to be licensed to deal with individual securities, mutual funds, insurance products, group benefit packages and benefit plans. Graduates have many career options working in banks, as investment dealers or insurers, or as self-employed financial planners.

Through the program, students complete all of the courses required to challenge Level 1 and Level 2 Financial Planning examinations that lead to the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification, an internationally recognized, industry gold standard for financial planning.

The program includes courses that will help students develop their interpersonal, marketing and entrepreneurship skills and learn to deal effectively with clients and prospects. It also provides extensive opportunities for networking with industry professionals.

Graduates of the program are in high demand. Financial Services is among Canada’s largest business sectors, with more than 11,000 employees in Waterloo Region alone. More than 90 per cent of graduates to date have found jobs within 6 months of completing their programs.

For Zhang, the choice of Conestoga and the Financial Planning Services program proved to be a sound investment. When he completed the program in 2011, he accepted a position with CIBC in Toronto, where he now serves as a Senior Risk Analyst.

Zhang credits his successful entry into the financial services industry directly to Conestoga, which provided him both with knowledge of the Canadian financial services system and the networking opportunities that led to his position with CIBC.

Financial Planning Services is one of more than 30 career-focused post-graduate programs at Conestoga that prepare students for success in a variety of fields in business, health and life sciences, community services, technology, trades and public service.

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