Texas Tech University

Personal Financial Planning Students Clinch Victory in the 2023 Financial Planning Challenge

Matilda Beckanovic

November 1, 2023


Three students prepared and presented a comprehensive financial plan to industry experts at the 2023 Financial Planning Association Conference

Three undergraduate students in the Personal Financial Planning (PFP) program had the opportunity to not only participate in the Financial Planning Association (FPA) conference but also won the Financial Planning challenge. The FPA is the leading membership organization and trade association for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING™ professionals and those engaged in the financial planning process. 

The Financial Planning Challenge highlights the expertise and skills of students enrolled in CFP Board-registered financial planning programs nationwide. The winning Texas Tech University School of Financial Planning team consisted of George Allen, Christopher Olsen, and Caleb Hoopes, with support and coaching from faculty advisor Michael Guillemette, Ph.D., CFP®.

The competition is structured into three phases: First, all participating student teams receive hypothetical client(s) profiles. Using this data, they must prepare a comprehensive financial plan. The initial phase mirrors the CFP Board's Financial Plan Development Course requirement. Second, the top eight teams from phase 1 advance to the second phase. Here, each team is required to orally present their case studies to a panel of judges. This allows the students to defend their planning decisions, articulate their thought processes, and demonstrate their presentation and communication skills in a real-world setting. The third and final phase is termed the 'How do you know?' challenge and teams participating in this phase compete against the other seven schools in a jeopardy-style quiz bow. The top team earns $10,000 scholarship for Texas Tech University, but the School of Financial Planning allocates those funds to the three students.

"Texas Tech University's exceptional financial planning program has garnered well-deserved recognition, as evidenced by their triumph in this year's competition," said 2023 FPA President James Lee, CFP®, CRPC®, AIF®. "We are delighted to partner with CFP Board and Ameriprise Financial once again to host this competition, celebrating the remarkable skills and knowledge displayed by the Texas Tech student team and all participating teams."

This conference allows faculty and staff to see their students put theoretical knowledge into practical use, gain insight from interactions with industry experts, and identify areas of curriculum enhancement based on real-world applications. Students benefit from exposure to industry leaders, peer networking, and gaining insights into the evolving world of financial planning. 

"George Allen, Caleb Hoopes, and Christopher Olsen's win at the challenge brought a lot of pride to the School of Personal Financial Planning," Guillemette said. "Their effort and the time they spent preparing stood out. Their client presentation, in particular, was notable as they improved immensely throughout the process. The faculty and alumni are impressed with their performance and how they represent their school, college, and university." 

The achievement of Allen, Hoopes, and Olsen's win showcases the School of Financial Planning's commitment to cultivating top-tier talent, emphasizing real-world applications and comprehensive financial planning understanding. The students' outstanding performance is arguably the most prestigious student competition in their field serves as a testament to the quality, depth, and rigor of the PFP program at Texas Tech. It highlights the school's ability to equip its students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence required to excel in the financial planning profession.