UNT stands out with financial planning degree and strategic industry alliances

Wednesday, July 10, 2024 - 10:00
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DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas offers the only in-person Bachelor of Business Administration for financial planning in Texas. The program also is registered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, providing students with a unique and marketable career path.

Mark Evers, Financial Planning program director, speaking with students.
Mark Evers, Financial Planning program director, speaking with students.

Courses offered by the Department of Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Law equip both finance and non-finance majors to effectively manage their personal finances and those of future clients.

“There are so many financial planning and financial services companies in the DFW metroplex that need students to work for them. The industry has a huge need for more talent, and we want to be the first university they turn to for their needs,” clinical assistant professor and Financial Planning Program director Mark Evers said. “My goal is to become the number one program in the country in quality and in number of graduates.”

Evers’ Show Me the Money course covers topics such as money management, tax filing, insurance protection, credit score evaluation, intelligent investing, retirement savings, homeownership and more. This introductory class is open to all undergraduates and serves as a kick-off to the financial planning program. Students complete a personal budget as part of a semester-long project.

“It’s a project that students can truly use every month for the rest of their life,” Evers said.

David Wachira, WAYA Co-Founder and CEO, speaking to students at Invest Fest.
David Wachira, WAYA Co-Founder and CEO, speaking to students at Invest Fest.

Highlighting the program’s hands-on approach, UNT senior Nia Gilmore has excelled both academically and professionally. She has already worked part time at Fidelity Investments, where she helped people open and access their retirement and brokerage accounts. Additionally, she interned at Thomas Reuters and Ally Financial. On campus, she is actively involved as the treasurer of the Professional Accounting Student Society and served as a mentor at UNT’s Student Money Management Center.

“These classes are very relevant during college, when I’m learning to manage my own finances and starting to handle paying my own bills,” Gilmore said. “It’s becoming even more significant now that I’m about to start a full-time job.”

The Dallas Business Journal reports that in recent years, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has become the second-largest hub for financial workers in the U.S. As of November 2023, the DFW area had approximately 384,500 financial activities jobs, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prominent companies in the North Texas region have already invested in the Ryan College of Business and the Student Money Management Center.

“Our partnerships with the Charles Schwab Foundation, AssetMark, Finserv Foundation, Fidelity Investments, Grunden Financial Advisory Inc., Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and Wells Fargo provide professional engagement opportunities for students that take our financial planning program to a higher level,” Ryan College of Business Dean Marilyn Wiley said. “Their support funds students to attend industry conferences and provides software and training that will make our graduates some of the best prepared in the nation to enter the financial planning profession.”

These partnerships have contributed to funding personal finance classes and events at the business college, including the Spring 2024 Invest Fest during which students had the chance to participate in panels, a luncheon and network with financial planning organizations. As Invest Fest keynote speaker, UNT alumnus David Wachira (’13) shared about his journey to becoming co-founder and CEO at Waya, a financial tech company on a mission to digitize banking for underserved and unbanked populations across the world.

“My experience at UNT was not only impactful but insightful, broadening my horizons,” Wachira said at Invest Fest. “I owe much of my current position to that experience, which encouraged me to take calculated risks, gain practical knowledge and engage with diverse perspectives.”

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

Media Contacts:

Chelsey Gilbert
Chelsey.Gilbert@unt.edu
940-369-7019