Allegheny Students Compete at College’s Second Annual Financial Literacy Challenge

Financial Literacy Challenge graphicThe Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics at Allegheny College held its second annual Financial Literacy Challenge on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, with 23 Allegheny students presenting personal financial budgets and investing plans appropriate for life after graduation. The top four finishers, who together received $5,000 in prizes and trophies, will advance to the CFA Society of Pittsburgh Collegiate Personal Financial Planning Competition in the spring:

First Place
Christian Lussier, a senior from Valencia, Pennsylvania

Second Place
Savannah Hunt, a senior from Sai Kung, New Territories

Third Place
Olivia Blakeslee, a senior from Union City, Pennsylvania, and Alexandra Heinle, a senior from New Kensington, Pennsylvania

This year’s competition was held virtually. Students shared their financial plans with a panel of six judges, each with extensive experience in the financial industry. The judges evaluated the plans according to the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) criteria for excellence in financial planning and provided feedback to students on how they could refine and improve their plans. The judges for the competition were:

  • Donald M. Belt, a 1993 Allegheny graduate and president at Hefren-Tillotson, Inc.
  • Toni Frisina, senior vice president and regional manager at Northwest Advisors (Northwest Bank)
  • Devone McLeod, a 2013 Allegheny graduate and certified financial planner at Reby Advisors
  • Janine Sickafuse, retired Allegheny accounting/economics professor
  • Sean Ward, a 1989 Allegheny graduate and partner at Blue Point Capital Partners, a global private equity firm
  • Susan Wycoff, a 1974 Allegheny graduate and retired vice president and relationship strategist at PNC Wealth Management

Chris Allison, entrepreneur in residence in the Economics Department, said the Financial Literacy Challenge supports a strategic goal of the Center for Business and Economics: to provide extracurricular activities to help students prepare for life beyond Allegheny. The competition also addresses a growing need to educate students about making sound financial decisions, Allison said.

“Despite being held virtually this year, the Financial Literacy Challenge once again attracted students from a wide range of academic majors and minors,” Allison said, “and we are very grateful for the judges’ willingness to contribute their time and expertise to help our students gain insights and lay a foundation for their future.”

Students each spent upwards of 20 hours developing their plans for the competition. In their plans, students outlined their financial goals and the steps to achieve them, including:

  • A monthly budget
  • A brief discussion of the impact of the current state of the economy
  • An investment strategy that shows an understanding of the return characteristics of different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds
  • An asset allocation, which is the mix of stocks and bonds that fits the student’s age as well as investment objectives

The prizes for the Financial Literacy Challenge were provided through a gift from an anonymous longtime supporter of the Center for Business and Economics.

For more information about the Financial Literacy Challenge, visit the Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics website.