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March 20, 2017 7:30 AM

Financial Planning students win gold and bronze at case competition

On March 4, Conestoga’s Financial Planning students finished the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning’s (CIFP) 2017 Case Challenge Competition with both gold and bronze wins. Conestoga teams started participating in the challenge in 2013 and have finished in one of the top three positions every year since.

The competition, held at George Brown College in Toronto, provided students with an opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Working in teams, students analyzed real business and financial planning problems, developed appropriate solutions and presented them to a panel of judges drawn from the financial services industry. 

The competition is open to universities and colleges in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. 

Financial Planning students Jose Rodrigo Martines, Sam Sheffield and Dane Piereder finished in first place. Conestoga’s second team, which included students Veeresh Roy Joggesser, Tiffany Croth and Amadeu De Souza Ferreira Neto, finished in third place with the bronze win. Scott Entwistle served as team manager and faculty members Dave Kohler and Tanya Staples coached the teams. The students have been meeting weekly since January to prepare for the competition.

“Participating in the competition presented opportunities I could not pass up,” said Piereder. “The first was the chance to study and practise with a team of specially selected students in a demanding environment and the opportunity to be coached by outstanding professors with industry experience. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do this.”

The case study Piereder and his teammates worked on was based on a couple in their mid-fifties who had the goal of retiring at 55, but found themselves caring for their young grandson. Their primary goals were to retire and provide for him. 

“What the judges wanted most of all was a creative strategy, the ability to see the whole picture and a high-quality presentation,” explained Piereder. “My team of three only had two hours to write a comprehensive financial plan, which included financial management, risk management, estate planning, investment planning, retirement planning and tax planning.”

As part of its first place win, the team received $1,000 towards the students’ Certified Financial Planner exam prep course, a trip to Financial Planning week in Toronto in November, and recognition in the Investment Executive Magazine.

In addition to raising the profile of entry-level financial planning practitioners who are graduating from colleges and universities, the competition gives sponsoring organizations a chance to network with the best and most qualified students in financial planning .

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

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