Texas Tech University

Senior Personal Financial Planning Students Become First Undergraduates to Pass the CFP® Certification Exam Before Graduating

Matilda Beckanovic

December 15, 2023

PFP Students

Bond Heflin and Connor Dierschke make history in the Texas Tech University School of Financial Planning

Bond Heflin and Connor Dierschke, senior Texas Tech Personal Financial Planning (PFP) students, graduated this December. Both recently passed the CFP® certification exam before graduating, making them the first School of Financial Planning students to do so as undergraduate students.

The CFP® certification exam tests one's ability to apply financial planning knowledge they have gained to real-life situations. This comprehensive exam ensures that individuals are highly qualified to develop a holistic plan for the client's finances. The CFP® certification covers areas including the financial planning process and principles, tax planning, income and retirement planning, and other essential topics.

"We are very proud of Connor and Bond and are thrilled to celebrate this milestone with them," Said Sarah Asebedo, School of Financial Planning director. "They have paved the path forward and have demonstrated the level of excellence that is possible when student motivation and drive meets program rigor, mentorship, and innovation. Wreck ‘em!"

BondHeflin grew up watching his father firsthand, assisting others in navigating complex financial decisions. Around the age of 14, Heflin says, he found himself drawn to every aspect and eager to learn as much as possible.

“I was steadfast in my belief that financial planning was my true calling from a young age,” Heflin said. “To our delight, we discovered that the country's best Personal Financial Planning program was conveniently located about 175 miles from our hometown of Monahans, TX.”

Heflin said the core classes in the PFP program were instrumental in his success. Students in the PFP Program are exposed to most, if not all, exam tops through their coursework. Going forward, he aspires to guide individuals through their financial journeys, serving as their financial adviser and assisting them in formulating and ultimately realizing their goals.

“I am grateful to Dr. Asebedo and Bryan Gramse for instilling in me confidence that passing the exam before graduation was achievable,” Heflin said. “Despite the skepticism from industry experts who warned that it might hinder my enjoyment of senior year, their guidance proved invaluable. Weekly meetings with Dr. Asebedo and Bryan Gramse provided the necessary confidence, even during moments when I doubted my ability to navigate the study material.”

DierkschDierschke first thought of becoming a certified financial planner while taking a high school class ‘money matters', where he learned about loans, credit scores, compounding interest, the stock market, and more. He began watching Dave Ramsay videos and knew financial planning was his calling.

“After learning Texas Tech had the #1 Personal Financial Planning program in the country, it was a no-brainer to come to Lubbock,” Dierschke said. “After being in the PFP program for the last 3 1/2 years, I have learned the importance of the CFP certification and the opportunities it brings in the financial planning world.”

During his time in the PFP program, his courses slowly prepared him for the CFP® exam, guiding the students' knowledge to pass the exam. The one specific course that stands out to Dierschke was Risk Management and Insurance with Michael Guillemette, Ph.D. Dierschke said the information he learned in that course helped him study the insurance section for my CFP exam.

“Dr. Guillemette taught the class in such an engaging manner and taught me that I love the intricacies of managing risk with insurance and the multitude of ways it can be done,” Dierschke said. “Dr. Asebedo and Gramse were exceptional in helping me get all that information to the forefront of my brain and into my work, which carried over into studying for the CFP, which I was doing concurrently with the course. Dr. Asebedo and Brian were also my mentors/instructors for studying for the CFP exam.”

After graduating, Dierschke plans to return home to San Angelo, TX, and become a comprehensive financial advisor. He is passionate about the idea of being able to help someone achieve their life goals through financial independence. He has accepted a position with Workhorse Wealth in San Angelo, where he will have a path to pursue his goals.

Congratulations to Heflin and Dierschke for passing the CFP® exam before graduation. The College of Human Sciences is a proud home of motivated students who will work to improve and enhance human health and wellness in every industry.