Bow Valley College financial planning students set sight on national CIFP Case Challenge

The team took first place in the 2023 Western Edition of the CIFP Case Challenge.

For an already busy student, the prospect of taking on a case competition in addition to their studies might feel daunting. But for the team that represented Bow Valley College at the 2023 Western Edition of the CIFP Case Challenge, their advice to peers would be to jump at the chance, even if they’re not shy to share it is quite the commitment.

The team, made up of three Business Administration diploma students, came away as first place winners at the challenge held in an online format on March 25. Now, the team has their sights set on the national case challenge on May 13, 2023, where they’ll present a new case that will test everything they have learned under coach and Chiu School of Business instructor Christy Hemmingway since January 2023.

Leading up to the next competition, the team shared their experience in preparing for the western division.

“They’re grueling sessions,” shared team member and second year accounting major Deanna Wan, on what the eight weeks of coaching were like. “We start at noon on Fridays, and we go to at least 4:30 p.m. In that time, we would take an entire case, analyze it, prepare a presentation, and then present for 20 minutes.”

Jasmohit Kaur, a second-year financial services major, agreed that the prospect of putting together a case presentation in that time span was a challenge. But practice over eight weeks helped the team overcome that. “When we got to practice more, when we got insights from industry professionals – that all helped us to grow tremendously over a few months,” she said. “Before that, I never would have thought that we would be able to build a case in such a short period of time, but now we’ve been instilled with the confidence to do just that.”

Along with the weekly case samples the team worked through, they also had many opportunities to learn from financial planning professionals, including mentors from TD, as well as gain insight from multiple Chiu School of Business faculty that Christy brought in. For team alternate Samantha Roxas who participated in the preparation leading up to the challenge, these opportunities were a major benefit of taking part in the experience.

We had different mentors from TD every week to give us advice on how to address a case and compare how it would be like realistically,” she shared. “That’s what I personally looked forward to because they would share how a professional would handle the case and how we could improve our presentation, not just for the competition but for our real future clients as well.”

Team member Christine Ip, who is finishing her first year, she says these opportunities to get real-world insights not only helped set up her team for success in the competition, but also help her in her own journey towards graduation. “I still have a long time before I graduate,” Christine said.” But I’m expecting to be in this area, and I hope to develop my future career in financial planning. I learned a lot, from my teammates and my coach.”

With the national competition on the horizon, the team say they are now focused on refining their process and abilities developed in their first eight weeks as a team.

“We're focusing more on to be able to deliver on that time crunch and to be able to collaborate,” says Jasmohit.

“And we’ve added a level of grueling. It’s not enough that we’ve prepared that 20-page PowerPoint covering six financial areas in two hours,” adds Deanna. “Now, we’re going to do that in depth with better recommendations.”

For coach Christy, while she’s excited to see the team succeed, she’s already immensely proud of the group. “They are already champions, so regardless of what happens in nationals, they’ve already won,” she shared. “They get to say, ‘Look: we’re the Western Canada champions. And that’s pretty cool. So, I’m just really proud of this group.”

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