Virginia Tech and Schwab Advisor Services will dedicate the Charles Schwab Financial Planning Suite in 302 Hutcheson Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 10:30 a.m. 

The suite, which comprises classroom and informal meeting spaces, was created with a $200,000 gift from the Charles Schwab Foundation to enhance the learning experience for students in Virginia Tech’s undergraduate program in financial planning.

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast, and Executive Vice President and Head of Schwab Advisor Services Bernie Clark will speak at the dedication. Attendees will include faculty, students, alumni, and donors to the program.

“We are proud to collaborate with Virginia Tech to inspire and assist students interested in pursuing careers as independent investment advisors,” said Clark. “Maintaining a diverse talent pipeline and developing future leaders are critical to the success of firms in this industry. We believe that the focused curriculum and cutting-edge facilities will position students in Virginia Tech’s financial planning program to meaningfully contribute to this growing and increasingly prominent field.”

Virginia Tech’s financial planning program, designed for students interested in a career in financial planning and wealth management for individuals, is nationally recognized for its teaching and advising strengths, placement and alumni achievements, and active student Financial Planning Association group.

The program prepares graduates to earn the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification and become leaders in the profession. The CFP is the most widely recognized professional designation in the financial planning profession.

The Charles Schwab Financial Planning Suite features a state-of-the-art audiovisual system that allows users to connect their smartphone, tablet, or laptop to the high-resolution projector and sound system via either a VGA, HDMI, or wireless connection.

“So far, the room has exceeded expectations,” said Derek Klock, an associate professor of practice, who teaches a financial planning technology class in the room. “The space, technology, and furnishings have provided great flexibility for lectures, demonstrations, and small group work.”

“The wireless display capabilities in the room foster collaborative work,” said Ruth Lytton, professor and program director. “Participants can easily share content during group work, and presenters can present from anywhere in the room.”

The room’s webcams and microphones will allow faculty and students to use WebEx or other web-conferencing tools to participate in online meetings, classes, and webinars. 

Klock added that “the wireless display and conferencing capabilities will make it easy to collaborate with financial advisors around the country, something that we had not previously had access to use.”

Citing some of the program’s recent distinctions, Lytton noted that three of its graduates, all under age 30, were named to InvestmentNews’ “40 Under 40” list of up-and-coming financial professionals in 2015 and 2016.

Program graduates are also sought after by the industry’s leading firms, many of which have hired multiple alumni as the firms have grown.

Numerous graduates, she said, are active in the profession, serving in various leadership roles in Financial Planning Association chapters, including its national NextGen community, for members age 36 and under. 

“The 2016, 2017, and just elected 2018 NexGen presidents are all Hokies,” Lytton said, adding that 14 Virginia Tech graduates participated in this summer’s NexGen gathering, more than any other school. 

Ten students and more than 20 alumni participated in the recent national Financial Planning Association conference, an indication of the program’s philosophy of professional excellence and leadership, Lytton said.

Students will participate in two other national conferences this fall, including the Schwab IMPACT® Conference for independent investment advisors who work with Schwab to serve their clients’ needs.

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