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Young Baylor Alumnae Wow Financial Planning Association

March 30, 2007

by Sarah Stamper

Two Baylor alumnae participated in a panel discussion and impressed the experts. The Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Dallas, Fort Worth, hosted a panel during their chapter meeting and Fourth Annual Career Day on January 26, 2007.

Financial planning industry expert and panelist Bob Veres recognized these recent Hankamer School of Business graduates for their professionalism. "They had totally mastered the most important thing: that what they did mattered, that it was more than just a commercial transaction," Veres wrote in his newsletter "Inside Information."

Industry experts Mike Haubrich and Veres participated in the panel along with the recent graduates: Carolyn Baxley, Baylor '06, Michelle Mulholland, Baylor '06, and Mandy Sessler, Texas Tech '05.

The panel's audience included FPA members, sponsors, employees, volunteers and the interviewees and interviewers from the Career Day.

Veres and Haubrich highlighted the industry's changes over the past 20 years as well as their predictions for the future. Veres described his and Haubrich's comments as, "rambling, pointless reveries how real planners used to create their investment projections using crude flint tools, and how important it was for the broker-dealer to provide exceptional due diligence on limited partnership investments."

They also gave practical advice to the students attending the Career Day.

This year marks FPA's Fourth Annual Career Day. Dr. Tom Potts, professor of finance and financial services and planning program director (FSP), helped FPA create this annual event. The Career Day is "very well received by our students," Potts said. "It's an exposure to the profession."

Mulholland commented on the success of the Career Day: "The Career Day event by itself is a wonderful way for financial planning students to connect with companies in the DFW area wanting to hire graduates of the financial planning program or interns for the upcoming summer."

Students submit resumes in December and schedule interviews to be held during the fair. An informal area is set up for students to mingle with potential employers. "This is a win-win situation because the students benefit by having their resumes exposed to a number of firms at once, and companies are able to interview the top students coming into the field," Mulholland described the benefits of the Career Day.

The event's success has sparked the National FPA to create "Career Day in a Box" modeled after the DFW chapter. Veres also commented on the event, "[the career day] is a terrific idea that other chapters ought to find out more about ASAP."

On the panel Baxley, Mulholland and Sessler gave insight of life after graduation. They described their typical day and how their expectations during college differed from the reality of their jobs.

"Despite experience levels that can still be measured in hours, they are already professionals as I define the term," Veres commented on the recent graduates.

Baxley attributes this knowledge to her education at Baylor University. "The Baylor Business school increased my awareness of the importance of integrity and professionalism." She explained her collective experience in the Hankamer School of Business taught these important traits. "I attribute my increased awareness on these two critical character traits to projects presentations, seminar/speaker presentations I attended, and to specific lessons some professors taught in class."

Baxley remembers professors incorporating these skills in the classroom: "one professor I vividly remember always integrating lessons on integrity and professionalism into her regular lesson plan was Carolyn Mu."

Dr. Mu desires her students to learn to be more than just good employees. "Emphasizing the integration of faith and discipline will not only make Baylor graduates competent employees but also the light at their workplace to shine with godly characters."

The panel discussed the importance of always performing your best work because the work impacts real lives, not just your GPA. Veres agreed with everything the novices said about work quality.

"They had totally mastered the most important thing: that what they did mattered, that it was more than just a commercial transaction."

Mulholland explained the significance of her work quality after graduation. "When you are on this side of graduation, real people with real circumstances take the place of tests and projects; when that happens you want to be as equipped as possible to perform on an A-level...clients do not accept B or C-level performance."

Both Baxley and Mulholland felt privileged to participate in the panel. Mulholland learned from the experts and offered insight to the students during the panel discussion. "I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the panel because it was an opportunity for me to learn about the profession as well from two of the most respected and talented people in the profession, and I felt like I could offer some valuable information to students whose place I was in less than a year ago."

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