Personal Financial Planning Mentor Program offers students support and guidance
By Ashley Ryan, College of Human Sciences Marketing and Communications
Personal Financial Planning mentors use their experience and invaluable knowledge to positively impact students.
The Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Mentor Program seeks to benefit students by providing mentorship to better prepare them their future role in the profession. Each student enrolled in the Professional Development class is paired with a current or past member of the Texas Tech PFP Alumni Board for the duration of the class.
Students who participate typically reach out to their mentor once a month via phone or computer. Conversation topics range from internships, resume critiques, communication skills, professionalism, and general knowledge about the profession.
PFP Alumni Board Committee Chairperson, Tess Downing, explains some goals of the program.
"In the past, the goal was to get this program off the ground and to understand the impact it has on the majority of students. Our goal for the future is to lay the ground work for an increasingly smoothly operated mentoring program for our mentors and students to enjoy for years to come."
Tess notes that the hope for the program is to be able to mutually benefit both the mentors and students. The next improvements will seek to improve communications and clarify expectations so that students understand the value they can receive from a mentor, even with a full course load.
"I think the more we can impact students' experiences in the program, the better ambassadors they will be for the program once they graduate. They will become great financial planners who are also willing to give back to the next generation. They will greatly impact the profession for the better."
Current President of the PFP Alumni Advisory Board, Dusty Wallace, comments on the program's success thus far.
"Our alumni are staying involved and continuing to help build and impact both the program at Texas Tech and the profession. Hopefully this work prepares the students for future roles in our profession and helps us to continue to grow and improve upon the profession. I am proud to continue to be involved with the program, the students, and to see how many other alumni are doing the same thing."
Assistant professor and Undergraduate Co-director for the PFP Program, Chris Browning, Ph.D., details a meeting where a student ambassador was asked what her favorite part of the PFP program was.
"As a department, we do a lot of student centered things we're proud of, so I had no idea what the student was going to say. She quickly said that the best thing about the PFP Program is the Mentor Program. She then went on to talk about what it meant to her and how it had given her clarity and confidence about her future as a financial planner."
Dr. Browning explains that upon completion of the PFP Mentor Program, students will have gained insight into the professional world in a way that cannot be replicated in the classroom.
"Someday these students will be in a position to make a positive impact on the profession and their community. I hope they will think back to the difference someone made in their life and take advantage of opportunities to pay it forward."
PFP student, Danielle Schneider, comments on her experience with her mentor and Certified Financial Planner ® Jennifer Calvi.
"Words cannot explain how grateful I am to have had my mentor this year. I will always consider her a great mentor and close friend. When I graduate, I hope to give back to this program, just as our alumni have given to us."
Former President of the PFP Alumni Advisory Board, Eddie Kramer, CFP®, EA, MBA explains that as soon as students are assigned their mentor, they should be sure to reach out immediately and get to know one another.
"This mentor volunteered to spend time with you. They want to know you. You are not intruding on their time. They went through the same course load you are going through. Your mentor is a proud Red Raider who wants you to succeed."
When Eddie volunteered as a mentor, PFP Department Chairperson Vickie Hampton, Ph.D., paired him with Jason Hoffman.
"One of the unintended gifts of mentoring is that you receive as much or more from the person you mentor as you give to them. Jason's professional maturity, work ethic, executive functioning, and communication skills were stellar."
Jason also provided the then PFP Alumni Advisory Board President with valuable insight about his experience in the PFP Department. Eddie says this was helpful in his role as President to receive a student's perspective. In addition to the insight, Jason shared with him how his family communicated about money when he was growing up.
"Hearing Jason's story helped me better communicate with my clients. My clients ask all the time how to talk with their child-aged and adult-aged children about money. Jason's family provided a great model and story for me to share with clients."
Eddie notes that the mentor program is his proudest achievement as a past President of the PFP Alumni Advisory Board.
"I look forward to watching this program grow during the next few years, and I anticipate we will extend the mentor program to graduate students as well. You never know what these bonds will create in future years."
The mentor program sets out to be a shining example to current students by providing a platform for alumni to give back to the PFP Department.
"Everyone on the PFP Alumni Advisory shares a great deal of gratitude to the PFP Department. We are proud of what we received, and we have a passion to see the Department thrive. What better way to do this than a one-on-one relationship with a student!"