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"Challenges like these confirm that our students can excel in the real world."

Commerce and law student Patrick Rowe has taken out the AMP University Challenge, with his Deakin peers, Master of Financial Planning students David Studley, Eileen Reid and Chenxiao Hu coming a close second.

Now in its fifth year, the challenge is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their problem-solving and financial planning prowess, while being judged by a panel of industry experts.

Patrick attributes his achievement to a number of factors, including previous participation in the event, developing his public speaking capacity and academic support from his lecturers.

‘Winning the AMP University Challenge gives me confidence in myself and an understanding that should I pursue a financial planning career once my degree is complete, I have a strong foundation to grow upon and become a good financial advisor - especially if I keep putting in the necessary work.

‘The event also highlights the importance of having experience in presenting a statement of advice to a client. I think this should most definitely be part of a student’s assessment and it’s positive to see that this is the case at Deakin,’ he says.

This year 367 students from across Australia registered for the challenge and Deakin Business School’s Dr Adrian Raftery says that Deakin’s quinella in the competition has stamped the university’s financial planning program as one of the best in Australia. 

‘At a time when a large proportion of the financial planning profession may need to upgrade their education levels to a minimum of a university degree - following the Federal Government’s endorsement to a Murray Financial System Review recommendation earlier this month – the AMP University Challenge result sends a signal out to the profession that Deakin Business School is among the elite,’ he says.

Rowe was not only rewarded with $4000 worth of prize money, but also received registrations to attend the 2015 FPA Professionals Congress in Brisbane and the 2016 AMP Advice Summit in Adelaide. He also took advantage of the opportunity to interact with industry professionals on the day.

‘I learnt a lot yesterday about AMP, the industry, and also myself. Some things I've learnt can't be put into words - it was an experience that has helped me grow as a person.

‘I was given some very valuable feedback from the judges and my coach on the day, which I will implement to better my communication skills and ability as a planner,’ he says.

Dr Raftery adds that challenges like these instil a level of confidence in students and confirm that they can excel in their field in the real world. 

‘All finalists received tremendous feedback from a variety of industry representatives throughout the day, which adds so much to their whole learning experience at Deakin.  We cannot underestimate the networking that they were exposed to and how that will help them in the future.

‘Also, they may have had the technical skills down pat prior to the challenge, but it is definitely one thing knowing and another altogether doing and implementing.’

Deakin’s financial planning programs are specifically designed to meet the education needs of the financial planning industry and also accommodate government changes to professional, ethical and education standards for financial advisers, proposed in 2015.

You can find more information about the competition and winners on the Professional Planner website.