Crowell School of Business hosted the second annual “Meet the Money Managers” event on January 28, 2020. Meet the Money Managers, an initiative founded by Associate Professor of Finance Shane Enete, is a networking event connecting Crowell students with financial planners and money management firms. Enete discussed this year’s event and its importance for students studying finance at Biola.
What is Meet the Money Managers and why is it important?
When I began as a finance professor, we had to choose what type of program to build, with either CFP (Certified Financial Planner) or CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) certification. Biola students are often naturally good at being relational, and our graduates usually find careers in financial planning and wealth management, which is more social and relational. So we chose the CFP. As part of that, I built an advisory board of financial planners in the area, and Meet the Money Managers was an event suggested by an advisor. It was our goal to bring these people together and provide a networking event for students.
In my mind, networking is the top possible skill to learn, the top possible practice to develop. Nothing else matters in terms of getting a job. I don't want to give students a fish but not teach them how to fish; I don't want to give them a job, I want them to learn how to network. So networking events are a safe environment where they learn how to network, which is a much greater skill than getting a job, because it gets them a job throughout their whole life. If they come out with a job in hand because it was given to them, I think that's doing them a real disservice.
Meet the Money Managers is also a way to protect our students. Insurance companies often ruin financial planning for business students, because these companies go to every job fair and claim they do financial planning. But then students end up in internships where they immediately have to make cold calls and telemarket and generate a call list. I have students who come by later and they're just traumatized, and they think financial planning is just sales, and of course that's not it at all.
So at Meet the Money Managers, they see legitimate firms with salaried positions and team-based models where you start, you grow, it's all referral, you're not doing any sales, you're building a legitimate career. We wanted students to see that, not that predatory environment.
And there are opportunities; the average age of CFP practitioners is late fifties. At the same time, the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the world is occurring between baby boomers and millennials. All that wealth needs to be managed but the people who are trained to manage it are ready to retire. Again, in my experience, millennials don't ever want to do sales. They don't want to be "transactional" with people. They want what's called a fee-based model, like a subscription service, instead of “I get a commission if I can sell you on this thing.
Also, there aren't formal job pipelines like there are for accounting graduates. It's pretty fractured. Typically you work in a firm for awhile and then you start your own firm, so there's a lot of smaller firms with three or four advisors. Then there are mid-sized ones with maybe eight to 12. There are bigger firms with multiple offices. Then you have the huge firms, like Merrill Lynch and Edward Jones. So we have a variety at Meet the Money Managers, usually around eight or nine firms.
This is our second year, and our attendance is up. The students are appreciative of being able to circulate their resumes and meet these nice people, such nice people. And we’ve already seen jobs come out of it!
What’s the future for finance at Biola?
We’re planning a fall career panel event for finance, with financial planning, financial management and everything in between so students can compare and contrast opportunities. It would primarily be information, not networking. We now have a student club, the Biola Financial Planning Association, hosting events and regular meetings and other things like a stock market game and guest speakers and visits to firms.
I'm most excited about building out a peer-to-peer student financial counseling center. Most universities with financial planning within their business programs have peer-to-peer centers; Ohio State, Kent State, Georgia are three that have done it well. Right now the usual way students talk with professionals about money is with the Financial Aid office, and while those are good people over there, it's just not the same thing. I would love to have a culture where, for example, we partner with the Center for Marriage and Relationships, and alongside relationship advice, we supply a financial counselor to help couples recognize the money issues and offer good resources and a plan.
To learn more about studying finance at Crowell School of Business, visit biola.edu/crowell.