Personal Financial Planning Students Take National Prize

The Industry Issues Competition was hosted by the Foundation for Financial Service Professionals.

Listed from left to right: John Gilliam, Candace Scholz, Whitney Neal and Michael Walsh

Students from the Department of Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University have captured first place at the Industry Issues Competition hosted by the Foundation for Financial Service Professionals at the organization’s annual conference, The Arizona Institute.

Graduate students Whitney Neal of Brady, Candace Scholz of Alice, and Michael Walsh of Florham Park, N.J. defended Texas Tech’s national title last week against competition from the University of Missouri at St. Louis and California State Northridge. With this victory, Neal, Scholz and Walsh bring home $5,000 in scholarship money for their department and keep Texas Tech University in the national spotlight for the second year in a row.

“It is an honor to represent Texas Tech University on a national level,” Neal said. “Furthering exposure for my university, college and department by competing in a field which I’m passionate about not only enhances my marketability, but further solidifies Texas Tech as an institution capable of producing not only great research, but well-rounded students that are more than ‘book smart.’ This was a great experience to showcase our theoretical knowledge and pair it with industry insight gathered from so many professionals who assisted in our team’s success.”

Competing teams were charged with exploring three professions in the financial services industry and writing a 25-page paper delivering their findings. The team from Texas Tech researched elder law attorneys, life insurance underwriters and pension administrators. Texas Tech University was among the three teams chosen as finalists and presented their research at The Arizona Institute in Tempe, Ariz. before numerous financial service professionals.

In addition to scholarship money, the team gained exposure to elite professionals and their experiences as well as a year’s worth of bragging rights.


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The School of Personal Financial Planning in the College of Human Sciences educates students on the need to focus financial knowledge on families and the achievement of their goals.

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in personal financial planning are registered by the CFP Board. Students graduating from a CFP Board-Registered Program are eligible to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination.

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