Clarion, Pa.- A group of Clarion students visited the Technology Tools for Today
Conference in Dallas, Texas to compete in the second annual FAStech Cup competition during the Feb. 14 weekend.
Students John Owens, Chelsea Zola, Zack Horner and Mike Smith led by adviser Dr. Jeff Eicher took home the grand prize of $5,000 and an engraved trophy to be housed at Clarion for the next year.
Last year a different group of Clarion seniors attended the first annual FAStech competition and placed in the jeopardy-style quiz bowl last year. This year, however, Clarion did not place in the quiz bowl, but rather earned first prize in the main focus of the competition: the FAStech Case Study Competition.
Much work was necessary for over two semesters and the winter break in order to compete with the other five schools at the competition: Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Utah Valley, St. Joe’s University and William Paterson with two teams.
The Case Study portion of the event in Dallas was really the fourth part in a long process these four students had to undertake in order to win.
Their first goal was to create a fictitious financial advisory firm to take care of “clients Mark and Linda” who were actually judges for the competition.
Part of creating a firm, theirs being Golden Eagle Financial, was to make it seem real with its own branding, outline of core values and ethics, links, testimonials and video spots on their own Weebly website at http://goldeneaglefinancial.weebly.com/video-blog.html.
The next facet of the case study was making a financial plan for “Mark and Linda” using MoneyGuidePro, who partnered with FAStech for the competition.
Before the team headed to Dallas, they held a Skype interview with their judges and imaginary clients and presented their case and plans so far.
At the Texas conference, the four met face-to-face with their clients and got questioned about their fictitious service. They held up so well that not only did they receive first place and a huge traveling trophy, but Clarion University also received $5,000 worth of prize money for the team’s efforts.
“We paid for the trip plus some,” said Eicher referring to how the prize money covered the cost of attending that the university had initially covered.
The students enjoyed their time competing, and fun was also had in Dallas when they went to see an NBA game.
“I think it’s very valuable for our students to travel, interact, and compete with other students and schools,” stated Eicher.
The program is very student-driven, and Eicher says the Clarion team needed very little supervision on his part. Tentatively speaking, Eicher plans to defend the championship next year with a new team at the third annual FAStech cup.
Eicher thinks that this win is a good indicator for the education Clarion University provides. “It’s a telling indication of how well-rounded and well-prepared we are.”
To even have the chance to compete with other students around the nation is a good thing according to Eicher. He said, “Our best students can stand toe-to-toe with any students anywhere.”