Helping with Students Financial Planning as the President of GFIG

Last month, the Graduate Finance and Investment Group (GFIG) hosted an event called Students Financial Planning – Make Your Money Work for You. GFIG provides education, information and networking opportunities to broaden students’ understanding of the financial business world, and career opportunities through interactions with professionals in the field of finance. This event was designed to give students the opportunity to develop their personal financial planning skills. 

As President of GFIG, I saw the need for an event like this as many other graduate student organization events focus on networking, career related panels or case competitions. Educating students investment knowledge and helping with their financial planning is unique and highly relevant to the theme of our organization. Second, GFIG programming has touched on communication, collaboration, problem solving, technical, leadership skills, etc. while personal financial planning as a skill was not yet highlighted. I remember one quote from Rich Dad, Poor Dad that “There is a difference between being poor and being broke. Broke is temporary. Poor is eternal.” I think it’s really important to have the mindset that start investing in one’s twenties and let the money grow by itself. Financially smart people know that the key to becoming wealthy is more than simply earning money. Our goal with this event was to make more students aware of how to manage their personal finances.

After discussing about the feasibility including the name, budget, format, ideal place and timeline of the event with my Vice President and Treasurer, I delegated the tasks to the team. My management style is that I value everyone’s strengths and utilize their talents and skills. For example, the GFIG Treasurer is a finance enthusiast and an intern at Cabrera Capital Markets, LLC so I let him invite his manager and professors to be our speakers and think about the main discussion points. The VP of GFIG is an MBA student concentrating in marketing, so his responsibility was managing the social media and advertising the event. I coordinated everything together, reached out to potential speakers, secured the place, and ordered food from UIC Catering. We brainstormed the topics to be covered in the event and kept each other updated every week. Whoever had a good idea and we put it on the table to discuss. 

The final list of guest speakers was comprised of Dave Mishoe, the Managing Director Global Equities at Cabrera Capital Markets, LLC, and Melissa Tannehill, the Founder & Owner of Tannehill Law, LLC. They enthusiastically shared their trading/investment experiences in equity and real estate markets and generously gave students advice on how to begin their financial planning. Among all the insights they shared, four particulars stand out in my mind as the most important. First, as a beginner investor, choose the asset that you are most familiar and comfortable with. Second, there is no strong relationship between one’s financial well-being and their ability to successfully invest. Students don’t have to have a lot of money to start investing. Opening an account on Fidelity or Vanguard and using fifty dollars to buy a stock can be a good beginning for online stock trading and can give you a taste of money management. Third, for both equity and real estate industries, you don’t have to have a lot of technical skills to be able to manage your investments. The tools are easy to pick up. The last but not the least, if they could live their life again, they would choose to start planning financially earlier. We had a good turnout and the room was half packed. After the event, students shared positive feedbacks and felt this event was necessary and beneficial and our speakers were phenomenal!

UIC Business is truly the place where ideas can be turned into reality. Our event couldn’t have been a success without the support and help from the Student Organization Advisor, Joey Maman, the Assistant Director of Engagement & Participation, Michaela Smith Esboldt and the Marketing Team. I enjoy helping people and making a positive impact on others. I know I am offered all the tools I need to succeed at UIC Business and I will keep working hard to achieve my goals and contribute to the community.

Yingying Wu is currently enrolled in Master of Science in Finance program and completed a Master’s in Accounting last December. She has been the President of Graduate Finance and Investment Group (GFIG) for the past year and a half. Previously she worked as a Graduate Assistant assisting with the event planning and coordination for Student Services and the Business Ambassador Program at UIC Business. She now is a Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Investments with Professor Hanh Le and for Managerial Finance with Professor Dominique Badoer in the Finance Department. She had an internship as a Treasury and Accounting Intern at TCS Education System this past summer.