What our students are saying...
VP Equity Trading, Small Regional Investment Bank
"I graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Economics. I've spent the past 12 years working as an institutional equity trader, mostly on the west coast. Because of new regulations and technologies, the long term prospects for equity traders has really diminished; so I decided that I wanted to make a career change. I also wanted to get away from the computer screens and work with people one-on-one, and after a lot of searching I came across the field of personal financial planning which led me to CLU.
Besides the CLU program, I also took a careful look at UCLA's CFP program. After talking with the representatives here at CLU, I was convinced that though getting an MBA in Personal Financial Planning would initially be more expensive it would help me attract higher end clients in the long run, so the investment would be worth it. I also liked that CLU offered their program online, which allows me to do a little work whenever I have time.
I haven't been in school for 15 years, so I was a little worried about taking graduate level courses. But since I found the subject matter to be so interesting, I was able to jump right into it. Some of the courses are definitely more challenging than the others, but I've found that I've gotten the most out of those courses. The biggest challenge has been setting aside enough time to complete the course work every week. I would say that sometimes I put in over 20 hours a week for certain courses, which is hard to do when you also have a full time job, a wife, and a one-year-old and a three-year-old. I expected college to be challenging, but I have also found that going back to school has re-awakened my mind.
The biggest strength of the academic experience at CLU is the ability to communicate with your instructors at any time. Through the online program, I don't view the class as a one-time 3-hour period, but more as an ongoing learning experience that lasts all week. Whenever I'm working on a subject matter or some homework and I have a question, I can e-mail or phone my professor and get a quick answer. Cindy Grether and Dr. Basu are always quick to respond to any questions as well, and both have really helped me throughout the program.
As a professional equity trader, I had always thought that the road to wealth was directly through stocks, but I have since changed my approach to personal investing. When people I know find out that I am taking the steps to become a CFP, they come to me with a lot of questions. I'm surprised at how many people out there have so many questions. People need help but don't really seem to know who to ask or trust. I enjoy being able to offer somebody advice based upon something I have learned through CLU's program. I can now see how all the different aspects of personal financial planning can really help people's lives.
When I went to the University of Washington, I would sit in classrooms sometimes as large as 600 students. I don't think I ever spoke to a professor one-on-one there. Through this program here at CLU, things are different. Whenever I am struggling with a subject matter, the professor has always been there to help. Harry Starn, my Investments professor, was really great at helping me find the answers to different questions. When I had questions about Dr. Basu's paper on age-banding, he brought in Dr. Basu to answer my questions. Other times he brought in an outside expert to answer questions that we had in some of the more complex subject matter. Investments is a very challenging course, and Harry helped make it one of the most rewarding.
I already know that this experience has been a success because even if you don't take this education and use it to find a job in the personal financial services business, you can always apply what you've learned to your own family's situation to help improve your own financial security. The experience has also opened up other opportunities that I didn't know existed. Through CLU I found about FPA and NAPFA. I have since attended a few of their conferences and met lots of new people who unbelievably want to go out of their way to help someone new succeed. I highly recommend that everyone interested in this field attend the basic training program that NAPFA offers during their regional conferences.
I hope to make a career change after attaining my MBA. I don't really want to open up my own practice, but would rather find an existing one where I can learn from a mentor. My goal is to take the education and experience that I am getting here at CLU and find such an opportunity."