Winthrop Team Places in 2017 National Financial Planning Challenge

October 17, 2017

Quick Facts

bullet point The Winthrop team placed fifth out of the eight teams that made it to the national level.

/uploadedImages/news/Articles/2017financial.pngFrom left: Beatriz Rodrigues, Jordyn Elliottand Zac Simmons 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — Three Winthrop University business students got a taste of the "real world" financial planning profession this month through the 2017 National Financial Planning Challenge.

The Winthrop team-Beatriz Rodrigues, Jordyn Elliot and Zac Simmons-led by Assistant Professor of Accounting Philip Gibson, placed fifth out of the few teams that made it to the final level.

"We were able to get exposed in our industry and to learn from it," said Rodrigues, of Charlotte, North Carolina. "Competing with other universities was challenging, but it was an enriching experience that will help us improve professionally."

Sponsored by the Financial Planning Association, Ameriprise Financial and the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board, the competition's first phase asked students to create a comprehensive financial plan for an imaginary couple based on hypothetical information.

"The information included a list of their financial goals such as retirement, paying for their grandchildren's college tuition and giving to charity," explained Simmons, of Belton, South Carolina. "Using the information sent to us and knowledge we have learned in Winthrop University's College of Business Administration, we crafted a well-thought out plan to help this couple reach their financial goals."

The Winthrop team made it to the next level and traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to present the case study to the judges. The last round of competition was a Jeopardy-style quiz bowl based on the CFP exam.

Though the team didn't take home the big win, the students said they appreciated the experience and being able to show Winthrop off to the rest of the nation.

"I took away that hard work and persistence can take you really far," said Elliott, of Alexandria, Virginia. "We took part in something very large, and we didn't necessarily know it right away. This competition is great for Winthrop's program and it has definitely boosted my confidence in the financial planning industry."

Simmons mentioned the new friendships.

"What I'll remember most is how much fun the competition was for me and my teammates," he said. "Don't get me wrong, it was hard work. It's just that, between the inside jokes and late nights preparing, we became such great friends that we had a blast doing it!"

For more information on Winthrop's financial planning track, contact Gibson at 803/323-2686 or

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