Every year American families meet with financial advisors to receive advice about their future finances, whether that is recommendations about saving for a child’s education or creating a retirement plan. Several University of Missouri students in an investment management class in the Department of Personal Financial Planning were given the chance to showcase their investment and portfolio management skills for a real-life corporate partner in a highly anticipated competition.

The Edward Jones Portfolio Challenge is a professional competition that enables students to act as financial advisors and develop solutions for a given client’s needs.

The Edward Jones Portfolio Challenge students pose for a picture with faculty supervisors and Edward Jones representatives after an exciting competition.

The Edward Jones Portfolio Challenge students pose for a picture with faculty supervisors and Edward Jones representatives after an exciting competition.

Assistant Professor Lu Fan is the instructor for the course and chose the top three teams in the class based on executive summaries and portfolio narratives they provided the client based on their work during the semester. Teams of four-to-five students competed in the portfolio challenge for a cash prize awarded by Edward Jones.

The teams competed to come up with their best recommendations for a scenario that involved advising a family’s future financial objectives. In the end, the winning team produced the most effective recommendations to earn their first place spot.

“I am very happy that our group won the portfolio challenge,” said Yun Guo, a member of the winning team. “I can’t ignore the power in team work and how everyone dedicated their time and cooperation to complete this project. I would like to thank Professor Fan and Edward Jones.”

Guo and her teammates – Ethan Wallace, Yaqi Fang and Elizaveta Korshunova – received the Portfolio Challenge Champion plaques with a cash prize of $2,500. Second place team members – Brandon Easley, Clayton Foster, Christian Schoonover, Nick Stork and Noah Wooters – received $1,500. The third place team members – Kolby Lang, Santiago Padruno, Jake Radmer and Angelina Steck – received $1,000.

The Edward Jones Portfolio Challenge winning team members stand with Professor Fan and Edward Jones representatives. The team members proudly displayed their first place plaques. Left to right: Lu Fan, Eric Willmeth, Elizaveta Korshunova, Scott Van Genderen, Yun Guo, Yaqi Fan, Ethan Wallace, Gina Mauller, Nathan Brown.

The Edward Jones Portfolio Challenge winning team members proudly displayed their first place plaque. Left to right: Yun Guo, Elizaveta Korshunova, Yaqi Fan and Ethan Wallace.

This contest not only allows financial planning students to test out their skills, but also challenges them to think outside the box and brainstorm real solutions.

“The competition is just one way our students obtain real-world, hands-on experience that helps set them up for success in their future careers,” said Fran Lawrence, professor and chair of the Department of Personal Financial Planning.  "I would like to thank Edward Jones for providing such a superb opportunity for our students."

The Department of Personal Financial Planning at MU is nationally and internationally recognized for its premier education and research programs, offering one of only four financial planning doctorate degrees in the U.S.

Second place team members stand by their plaque after their distinguished accomplishment. Left to right: Nick Stork, Brandon Easley, Christian Schoonover, Noah Wooters, Clayton Foster

Second place team members stand by their plaque after their distinguished accomplishment. Left to right: Nick Stork, Brandon Easley, Christian Schoonover, Noah Wooters, Clayton Foster

The third place team proudly poses for a picture after an exceptional presentation and achievement. Left to right: Left to right: Kolby Lang, Santiago Padruno, Angelina Steck, Jake Radmer

The third place team proudly poses for a picture after an exceptional presentation and achievement. Left to right: Left to right: Kolby Lang, Santiago Padruno, Angelina Steck, Jake Radmer