Black-eyed Susans are blooming outside the Haworth College of Business

Career Pathway: Personal financial planning

Certified by the Certified Financial Planner Board, this program will help you gain a strong foundation in financial planning. You will have the opportunity to apply to manage a portfolio of nearly $3 million of real money in our Greenleaf Trust Trading Room, under the direction of an experienced money manager, in our Student Managed Investment Fund course, with additional opportunities to prepare for the Series 7 exam and earn a Bloomberg certification.

As a personal financial planning major at Western Michigan University, you will learn interviewing and analytical skills to help you become financially savvy for your future career. You should be passionate about working with people and willing to fine tune and develop your communication skills to work with clients. Upon successful completion of the recommended coursework, you will be eligible to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam.

  • Where do I start for a career pathway in personal financial planning?

    Start by making an appointment with the Zhang Career Center, which can assist you in discovering your career interests and values. The personal financial planning industry includes employees who tend to be conventional, enterprising and social. They value achievement, working independence and recognition according to O*Net. Find out if your work preferences match careers in finance by taking the Focus2 assessment.

    What is personal financial planning?

  • What skills are personal financial planning employers seeking?

    Technical skills are part of the proficiencies that are required for a job and may be developed in your major coursework. Personal financial planning-oriented technical skills desired include experience with customer relationship management software, ERP software, financial analysis software, Microsoft Office suite, presentation skills, economics experience and financial knowledge.

    Interpersonal skills enable you to succeed and are often developed outside of the classroom. Personal financial planning-oriented interpersonal skills include financial resource management skills, customer service orientation, critical and active listening, complex problem solving, social perceptiveness, negotiation, systems evaluation and analysis, and time management.

    What careers involve these personal financial planning skills?

  • How can I obtain an internship?

    There are many different ways to acquire an internship, online or in person. Visiting the Internship Catalog and the Career Outcomes Report can help you learn about the companies that have previously employed personal financial planning students.

    Handshake is WMU’s employment website. All students should set up an account and publish a resume. Resumes made public by students are searchable by employers.

    Students use their Handshake accounts to view internship and full-time job opportunities posted by employers and sign up for on-campus interviews. For more information, visit the Zhang Career Center.

  • Student groups and supporting events at WMU Haworth

    Personal financial planning student groups include Financial Planning Association and Financial Services Association. Other groups include Business Association of Mentors, DECA at WMU, Delta Sigma Pi, Leadership and Business Strategy, Phi Chi Theta and Women's Business Network.

     Events supporting the personal financial planning major include the following:

    • Business Career Day
    • Finance Career Night
    • Meet the Firms
  • NACE Career Readiness Competencies

    The Zhang Career Center at the Haworth College of Business empowers learners to launch successful business careers by engaging them in innovative programming focused on professional readiness, while developing partnerships with global, regional and local leaders who hire students. As pioneers in career readiness programs and experts in customer service, staff members in the career center strive to meet the needs of all students and employers.

    Career readiness competencies include:

    • Career and self-development
    • Communication
    • Critical thinking
    • Equity and inclusion
    • Leadership
    • Professionalism
    • Teamwork
    • Technology

    Visit the NACE competencies online to learn more.

Tasks and processes in personal financial planning:

Analysis of assets, asset management, client experience, disbursements, dividend(s), financial analysis, financial planning, financial reporting, international financial reporting standards, investment analysis and management, mergers and acquisitions, mutual fund(s), net worth and securities.

Careers in personal financial planning:

Personal financial advisors:

  • Certified financial planner
  • Analyst
  • Financial advisor
  • Financial consultant
  • Financial counselor
  • Investment advisor
  • Portfolio manager
  • Registered representative
  • Account executive

Financial services sales agents:

  • Client manager
  • Financial consultant
  • Financial services representatives
  • Financial specialist
  • Investment officer
  • Personal banker
  • Registered representative
  • Relationship banker
  • Relationship manager
  • Select banker

Business Externship opportunities

The Business Externship Program provides career exploration opportunities that connect students in Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business with mentors, many of whom are WMU alumni. Current personal financial planning externship opportunities include Consumers Credit Union, Greenleaf Hospitality, Rocket Companies, VandenBosch Capital Management and many more. Learn more about the program.

Major research tools

Book an appointment

Zhang Career Center

To schedule an appointment, book with our online portal or call (269) 387-2711 today.