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Student financial planning team named finalists, to compete May 1

ISSUED: 14 April 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — A financial planning team from Shepherd University will compete in the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants’ 2014 National Financial Plan Competition finals in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 1.

Bonnie Bailey, a business junior from Phoenix, Arizona, Akhtar Khan, an economics senior from Charles Town, and Avery Mendzela, a business sophomore from Shepherdstown, comprise the team that is working to convince a fictional family to hire it.

“When we presented in the semifinals, all of our hard work was reflected and the judges’ scorecards definitely showed how we overcame the challenge of trying to get everyone together and get the plan rolling,” said Khan.

The team members estimate they have put in well over a hundred hours compiling a comprehensive written proposal for the first phase of competition and then a web presentation for the second. The finals will have them presenting to a live audience. They agreed their coursework and professors have prepared them well for the competition and careers in the field.

“I feel like the smaller class sizes that you get at Shepherd create an opportunity for you to build a deeper relationship with your professors, which gives you an opportunity to learn more beyond the scope of the curriculum of the class,” Bailey said. “The professors are very willing to sit down and have discussions with you outside of the classroom to help cement the ideas that you’re learning.”

One of those professors is Dr. Nicolas A. Pologeorgis, assistant professor of business administration, who is advising the team. He said they have met multiple times rehearsing and role-playing, and that each team member has worked hard and diligently on the case.

“Each student brings a different strength to the team focusing on different aspects of the financial plan,” he said. “Their successes were reflected on the judges’ scorecards which advanced them to the final round of the competition. I am confident they will do very well on the final round, and they will greatly benefit from the overall experience.”

Bailey said one of the most rewarding aspects of the competition is putting to use what she has learned in the classroom.

“Whether or not we win this competition, we’ve learned an extreme amount about teamwork, about financial planning as an industry, and the amount of effort that it takes to be successful in this business.”

Besides competing, the team is looking forward to networking with other financial professionals and learning about their different philosophies and making a name for Shepherd.

“We are putting Shepherd on the map and having people interested in our school, where we come from, and what we have to offer,” Khan said. The other finalists are from Bryant University and Bowling Green State University.

Bailey, Khan, and Mendzela are all members of the financial planning club at Shepherd with Bailey serving as president. The club helps students with financial planning employment, internships, scholarships, and resume building.

The IARFC is a non-profit credentialing organization of proven financial professionals formed to foster public confidence in the financial planning profession, to help financial advisors exchange planning techniques, and to give recognition to those practitioners who are truly committed to ethical standards and continuous professional education.


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