Competition gives Creighton finance students real-life experience

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Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2013 12:00 am

Finance students at Creighton University are getting real-life experience thanks to a partnership between Northwestern Mutual and the university’s finance department, which developed the first “Planning Makes a Difference” competition for students.

Participating students were assigned a case study - a young married couple looking to start a family - and asked to create a financial plan based on the client’s assets, debt and cash flow. On April 16, the four teams of two will make their final 20-minute presentations to a panel of judges, which will include representatives from Northwestern Mutual and Creighton finance professors Edward Horwitz and Ken Washer. The students will also be pitching to a mock couple meant to represent the one in the case study.

Individuals on the winning team will receive a $500 scholarship; second-place winners will be awarded a $250 scholarship each and third-place winners will win a $125 scholarship.

Creighton was one of four universities chosen to pilot the partnership due to the growth and reputation of its financial planning program, Horwitz said. Northwestern Mutual also sponsors Creighton’s Career Center, Horwitz said.

Horwitz, who teaches financial planning at Creighton, said the experience is valuable to the students participating because it will give them their first real practice at creating a comprehensive financial plan.

“Putting together a comprehensive financial plan like that is an extremely detailed process,” said Horwitz.

For the first phase of the competition, students were required to write an initial analysis based on the case study. This week, they will finish up the second phase, which includes meeting with Certified Financial Planners at Northwestern Mutual to refine their presentations.

“The insight of financial planning professionals allows them to gain knowledge and experience that puts them so far ahead when they enter the job market,” Horwitz said.

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