Class of 2023: Manny Guillen finds his financial footing in the Pamplin College of Business
Name: Manny Guillen
College: Pamplin College of Business
Major: Financial planning and wealth management
Hometown: Ellicott City, Maryland
Plans after graduation: Guillen will begin working at the Charles Schwab Advice Academy in Denver on Aug. 14.
Favorite Hokie memory: “Honestly, just going to all my classes for the first time, meeting people, and walking around campus. It was absolutely beautiful, all the time. Being able to meet and know most of the people in my classes and see them walking around everywhere I go.”
Guillen’s interest in wealth management exemplifies the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). “I want to help people become more educated about their finances,” he said. “Today, anyone can claim to be a financial advisor, but without the proper education as a base, people aren’t receiving the right advice.”
Originally enrolling in the Pamplin College of Business as a business (undecided) major, Guillen found his financial footing in the spring of his first year. During a one-credit course that examined the seven concentrations a finance student could specialize in, Guillen was intrigued by the potential of financial planning.
Since then, Guillen has been all-in. He has served as a member of the Financial Planning Association at Virginia Tech, a student-run chapter of the Financial Planning Association, itself a principal membership organization for certified financial planner professionals.
Guillen is a member of the fraternity Theta Chi and plays on the Virginia Tech club golf team.
Charles Schwab Foundation Scholar
In 2021, Guillen was a recipient of the Charles Schwab Foundation Scholars in Financial Planning Scholarship. The scholarship program, created in 2021 by the Charles Schwab Corp., a multinational financial services company, provides financial assistance to students from underrepresented communities who are pursuing a career in financial planning. Recipients receive scholarship funds for two years or until they graduate as well as an opportunity for internships, professional development, and mentorship opportunities at Charles Schwab.
“It was a huge weight off my shoulders,” Guillen said of the scholarship. At the time he received the scholarship, Guillen had been working multiple jobs to help minimize the amount of debt he would accrue via loans.
“Knowing that I now had money to help pay for my education so I could continue to learn how to do something I enjoyed.”
Schwab Intern Academy
As a Charles Schwab Foundation Scholar, Guillen was offered the opportunity to interview for a position in the Schwab Intern Academy, a nine-week program that offers participants “a meaningful paid summer experience by working on real business projects” with Schwab professionals.
“I interned for the company in Dallas, Texas, for two months in the summer of 2022,” said Guillen. “It was awesome. Each week, the Schwab team had a different plan for the interns.”
One week the team of interns would learn about investments with the Schwab investment team, while another they would work with the financial planning team, using Schwab software for mock simulations, he said.
“Essentially, Schwab took us through each section of the business,” he continued. “I didn't realize how many moving parts it took for a single client interaction to happen.”
After completing his internship, Guillen was offered a full-time position with Schwab, a position he is set to begin after graduation.
Impact of professors
“My professors at in Pamplin really pushed me,” said Guillen. “It showed during my internship because I understood everything that was being shown.”
Guillen felt that the Certified Financial Planner Certification Education option that is part of his financial planning and wealth management major gave him an advantage over some of his fellow interns.
“It was interesting to work with other interns who had a background in finance, but who did not have the same degree option that we have in Pamplin,” he said. “When the financial planners were working with the clients and explaining what they were doing, I understood because of the classes that I was taking. It was an amazing moment for me to put my work from the classroom and apply it to real-world work.
“I got the impression that the faculty at Virginia Tech cared about the success of their students and wanted us to live up to our potential,” he said.