Conestoga news

April 19, 2013 10:54 AM

Conestoga students offer winning formula for financial planning

Sticking to a budget requires discipline, focus and the ability to plan for unforeseen circumstances. For most people, this combination proves to be difficult. However, three Conestoga students have come up with the winning formula.

Business Administration - Financial Planning diploma students Brittany Frank, David Wania and Rebekah Snow took top prize in the 2013 Canadian Institute of Financial Planning (CIFP) Case Challenge in Toronto on April 14.

Eight teams from six schools were given a case study involving a big-spending, common-law couple. As well as Conestoga, participating schools included Ryerson University, Centennial College, Humber College, Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and Nova Scotia Community College

Over the course of two hours, each team was required to develop a financial plan for the couple and present it to a panel of judges, all of whom were certified financial planners.

Having the chance to examine a real-world financial challenge and put their classroom knowledge to use was rewarding for the students.

“It’s hard to get that in a classroom,” said Wania. “You get to present in front of industry professionals, and to be recognized that you’re number one is pretty special.”

For Pat Leicester, Financial Planning program coordinator at Conestoga, preparing students for the competition meant helping them hone what they had already learned in the classroom.

“We created simulations for the students where they had 2 hours to do case studies,” she explained. “Overall students spent a total of 14 hours preparing for the event.”

But according to Leicester, the Conestoga students were already well prepared for the competition and for the realities of financial planning.

“Because we knew that our students were doing more casework in the classroom than other colleges, we were confident they would perform well.”

In addition to the classroom casework, Leicester said that all financial planning students at Conestoga work on three progressive case studies in their capstone course during their final semester. Students are also required to complete individual financial plans as their final project.

Conestoga offers a 3-year financial planning diploma program as well as a graduate certificate in financial planning services.