Red River College Students Win Top Spot at Financial Planning Competition

Move over, Warren Buffet. A team of students from Red River College’s (RRC) Business Administration program recently proved they have the know-how to assess a person’s situation and deliver successful financial planning advice when they won first place at the 2018 Canadian Institute of Financial Planners Case Challenge in Calgary, Alberta.

This was RRC’s first time participating in the challenge, which saw the team, made up of four students specializing in Financial Services (three competitors and an alternate), competed against five teams from three other Colleges in the Western Canada division.

“Competitions like this are as close to real life as the students are going to get,” said Maria Vincenten, Financial Services Instructor at RRC. “The feedback and experience is unbelievable for the students, and it helps the industry to recognize our program as having strong learning outcomes. We are applied learning – so any time we can showcase what we’re doing here (at the College) helps us evolve the program further.”

Beginning in January, Shelby Joss, Vitor Machado e Melo, Virginia Giesbrecht, and Shannon Krahn would practice as if they were competing in the challenge that day. In the morning they would receive the details of a case and spend two hours discussing and strategizing the best way to help the ‘client’ and hand in their materials to their instructor. In the afternoon they would be able to briefly review their notes before giving a 20 minute presentation, followed by notes and discussion with Vincenten.

“Practicing looking at cases and making recommendations for different clients was a fantastic way to pull together everything we were learning in class and apply it to real life situations,” said Shannon Krahn, the team’s alternate. “Aside from honing my teamwork skills, the experience also helped me grow in my understanding of financial products and how to deal with clients.”

The types of cases, and the skills necessary to provide strong advice, being practiced by the group matched the curriculum of what they were learning in class – which was another advantage of taking part in the competition.

“I wanted to improve my teamwork and rational thinking skills,” said Vitor Machado e Melo. “At school you learn a lot of important information, and the additional work – being able to practice and compete – helped us link everything. I think for me the biggest strength that I acquired is being able to see a problem and apply it to a client’s big picture.”

The Financial Services specialization in the Business Administration program is designed for those interested in banking, insurance and finance as a career. It is also the only program in Manitoba that offers three certified courses, allowing students to become certified in Canadian Investment Funds (CIFC) and the Life License Qualifcation Program (LLQP) through the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, and certified in the Fundamentals of Insurance through the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba.

By placing first at the Western region competition, the team is now working to improve their skills before facing off against the Eastern champions at the first ever national event this June in Halifax.

“We need to keep honing the skills and finding new ways to tackle problems,” said Shelby Joss. “If I want to be a financial advisor, what better way to be recognized by an employer than to say I won a national competition in financial planning.”

Learn more about Red River College’s Business Administration program here: http://me.rrc.mb.ca/catalogue/ProgramInfo.aspx?ProgCode=BUSAF-DP&DescriptionType=19&RegionCode=SC