During the Spring 2018 semester, California State University, Northridge students Ashley Nobel ’18 (Financial Planning) and Bonnie Dang ’17 (Finance) clinched third place at the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC) competition, after submitting a financial plan based on a real-world situation. Competing against more than 70 participants, Nobel and Dang’s first-ever competition proved to be highly successful.
The IARFC is a nonprofit credentialing association for financial professions, dedicated to building public confidence in the financial services profession. Each year, the association hosts a competition for colleges around the U.S. to develop the most successful financial plan.
Their project: a comprehensive plan for a family that wants to implement personal financial goals such as retirement, life insurance, income tax and estate planning. For a semester they worked in and out of the classroom, researching and utilizing various tools such as textbooks and online programs. Their most challenging obstacle was the lack of experience in the field. This would be their first time navigating a project like this.
Through this process, they received guidance and coaching by CSUN professor Shannah Game, a certified financial planner and MBA lecturer in the Department of Finance.
“Both students put their heart and soul into the IARFC competition, and it showed in their work,” said Game. “This was their first time pulling their years of knowledge together to compete and present a financial plan.”
Their financial plan did not come easily to fruition. Dang and Nobel worked extensively to produce a plan that was both sound and compatible.
“We had to do a lot of research for our project and pull our knowledge together from previous classes,” said Dang “It gave me real-world experience and helped me figure out that this is something that I want to do for a future career.”
The competition took place across the country, at the prestigious Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. The CSUN pair presented their plan, showcasing their financial strategy for an audience and a group of judges.
“The process really made me understand that the education I’ve received from school will one day be tested in the real world in my future career,” said Nobel. “I learned a lot about the finance industry and what it looks like in other states across the U.S.”
The competition, although challenging, provided invaluable experience, the students said.
“When we applied the material we had learned in real-life situations, it helped open our views about planning for the future,” said Dang. “Budgeting your own expenses can be hard at first, but when you figure out what works for you and stick with it, you can start seeing the change in your financial position.”
Both Dang and Nobel said they plan to pursue careers in the financial planning industry and building experience in the field.
“I feel confident about the career that I plan on pursuing, and thank the CSUN professors for helping me realize how much I like doing it,” said Nobel. “CSUN has many resources that students should be taking advantage of that can grow their career interests.”