Virginia Tech’s undergraduate program in financial planning stands out nationally, thanks to its teaching and advising strengths, placement success, and active student group.

The program, which educates financial planners and prepares them for CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) certification, has received several national recognitions, including being listed among the top 25 programs in Financial Planning magazine and cited as one of the top 2 programs in Financial Advisor magazine.

Courses are offered through two colleges — the Pamplin College of Business, where financial planning is one of five specializations in finance, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where financial planning is one of four specializations in finance — and students receive a bachelor’s degree in either finance or applied economic management when they complete their studies.

They also are eligible to take the exam to earn the CFP® designation, the premier credential in the financial advisor profession.

The program is run as a single initiative by the two participating colleges, with Derek Klock, assistant professor of practice, as the Pamplin coordinator and agricultural and applied economics professor Ruth Lytton as the director.

Both teach courses, provide academic and career guidance to students, and lead students on trips to visit companies, attend conferences, and participate in competitions.

Currently enrolling about 150 students, the program and its faculty have won kudos from students and alumni alike.

The program’s graduates are in demand in the job market, say Klock and Lytton. “Placement has always been another strength of our program,” Lytton says.

“That trend seems sure to continue,” she says, “as the Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting a 32 percent growth in the employment of personal financial advisors through 2020, much higher than for most career paths.”  

Klock says that a number of the program’s graduates, including Honeigh Meletis, a 2010 finance graduate, have been hired at leading firms such as Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney (SBSB) and Glassman Wealth Services — “two of the three firms honored by Charles Schwab at its annual conference last fall as the best in the business.”

Meletis, a senior associate financial planner with SBSB, says she realized, shortly into her career, just how much the program had prepared her for her current job duties and responsibilities.

“I knew the language and had the strong financial planning knowledge I needed to hit the ground running as a new hire in a successful and highly esteemed, comprehensive wealth advisory practice.”

Get the full story, “Virginia Tech financial planning program holds national reputation,” and more in the spring 2013 Pamplin magazine.



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