Meet Amanda, a Master of Science graduate from McDonough, GA. Amanda received her Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Georgia in 2015, and earned a certificate in Legal Studies from UGA in 2015. She currently works as a financial planning coordinator for Beckett and Associates in Winder, GA, and plans to take her Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification exam in March. She recently worked as a student advisor at the UGA ASPIRE Clinic, and also completed an internship with CapStone Partners in McDonough, GA. 

Why did you decide to pursue a degree in financial planning at the University of Georgia?

While obtaining my undergraduate degree in Finance, I realized that my true passion was leaning more towards personal finance than corporate finance.  I had an internship in a financial planning office my junior year and fell in love with the profession.  However, when I started to look for jobs, I found that employers in financial planning were not very impressed with my plain finance degree and no (CFP® certification.  Already knowing I would like to take the CFP®, I looked into my options and decided that this program with allow me to have both a Master's degree as well as the capstone course requirement for the CFP®.

What is your favorite class and why?

I really enjoyed the finance counselling ASPIRE class. I felt that this class was the perfect indicator of being in the right career.  I loved being able to see clients and help them through some of their problems. Having the opportunity to engage with clients in a low-pressure environment is an experience I wouldn't have been able to have anywhere else. 

What are your plans post-graduation? How do you think your degree in financial planning will help you to achieve those goals?

I plan to continue working at a financial planning office that I started working at in the summer of 2016. It is a small office in Winder, Georgia that did not have a financial planner until I was hired, so I am able to introduce planning into these clients’ portfolios.  Having this Master’s degree will also show these clients that even though I am young, I have the qualifications necessary to be able to help them meet their goals.

I have also signed up to take the CFP® in March and have been using all of my free time to study so that I can hopefully pass it on the first try!

I would love to teach financial counseling courses. I'd also like to work with the ASPIRE Clinic to create a similar clinic if there isn't something at my institution. I think it is a really wonderful gem, and there should be one at every institution of higher learning serving communities.

Tell us about your involvement with the department outside of the classroom.

I really enjoyed participating in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and ASPIRE over my years of being in the Master’s program. I gain so much more out of hands-on learning than simply reading procedures from a book.  Being able to apply all our learning through classes into these more applicable atmospheres cements and even deepens our knowledge of the subjects and situations. Additionally, I have gained so much confidence through ASPIRE and VITA. When I was first assigned a client by myself in the ASPIRE clinic, I was so nervous and was sure I was going to mess something up.  However, the meeting went better than I expected even though I knew I had things to improve on. By the end of the semester, I didn't blink when I was assigned a whole family to council by myself.

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Tags: financial planning, aspire