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BizAdmin students take top prize at financial planning competition

April 9, 2018

Red River College CIFP TeamA team of Business Administration students from Red River College proved they have the know-how to assess a person’s situation and deliver successful financial planning advice, by winning first place at the 2018 Canadian Institute of Financial Planning Case Challenge in Calgary, Alberta.

This was RRC’s first time participating in the challenge, which saw four students — all specializing in Financial Services — competing against teams from three other Colleges in Western Canada.

“Competitions like this are as close to real life as the students are going to get,” says Maria Vincenten, a 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 RRC) helps us evolve the program further.”

Beginning in January, students Shelby Joss, Vitor Machado e Melo, Virginia Giesbrecht, and Shannon Krahn spent time practicing: In the morning, they’d receive the details of a case and spend two hours discussing and strategizing the best way to help their ‘client.’ In the afternoon, they’d briefly review their notes before giving a 20-minute presentation, followed by notes and discussion.

“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,” says 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 studied matched the curriculum students were already learning in class — another advantage of taking part in the competition.

“I wanted to improve my teamwork and rational thinking skills,” says 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 Business Administration program’s Financial Services specialization is for students interested in banking, insurance and finance as a career. It’s 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 Qualification Program (LLQP) through the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, and certified in the Fundamentals of Insurance through the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba.

Having placed first in Calgary, the RRC team is now working to improve their skills before facing off against the Eastern champions at the first-ever national event in Halifax this June.

“We need to keep honing the skills and finding new ways to tackle problems,” says 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.”