Elaine Wang shares how a Master of Financial Planning gave her the confidence and professional recognition to forge a promising career in the finance industry.
Moving countries and starting a master’s degree in an area you have no experience in would be a big challenge for most people, but Elaine Wang took it in her stride.
It only took two months for Elaine’s life to dramatically change, migrating to Australia from China in February 2013 and a month later starting a Master of Financial Planning.
“With unrecognised foreign qualifications and overseas experience, undertaking a postgraduate degree was the best way for me to adjust to the new environment and restart my career path,” she says.
Although it wasn’t easy for Elaine, who struggled to adapt to a different culture and language while also studying.
“It was hard as a new migrant from a non-English speaking background, with little understanding of the local financial industry,” she says. “But I passed all the courses in that first semester and even got two distinctions.”
I am proud that I started as a contractor at Macquarie Group and quickly became a full-time Paraplanner with no prior experience. I owe this to the solid professional knowledge base I gained from my degree.
A boost in confidence and skills
After graduating in 2014, Elaine secured a position as a Paraplanner at Macquarie Group.
“From my postgraduate degree, I learnt the most up-to-date knowledge and most-needed skills in the financial planning industry, and developed a deep understanding of Australian financial markets,” she says.
“This allowed me to adjust to my new environment in the shortest time possible, and provided me with great confidence and professional recognition for my career.”
Elaine feels a sense of satisfaction when she thinks back to the hurdles she overcame and how her commitment to complete a postgraduate degree has propelled her career.
“I am proud that I started as a contractor at Macquarie Group and quickly became a full-time Paraplanner with no prior experience,” she says. “I owe this to the solid professional knowledge base I gained from my degree.”
Long-lasting financial knowledge
Elaine says she regularly applies the knowledge and critical thinking skills she learnt about financial markets and products, investment, risk management, taxation law, compliance and professional conduct in her current role.
“During my master’s degree, I studied two courses related to superannuation and taxation that were taught by Gordon Mackenzie, who has over 30 years experience in the industry,” she says.
“I was impressed by his deep understanding of the legislation and superior ability to explain complex ideas with easily understood language. I still refer to the two thick booklets from those courses as my ‘bible’ for technical concepts.”
Many of the lecturers who teach in the Master of Financial Planning at UNSW Business School have industry experience or are practising in the field, including Senior Lecturer in Financial Planning, Nidal Danoun.
“We always strive to make links between the theory and what actually happens in practice in order to help students apply the knowledge they’ve learnt,” says Nidal.
Advisers who are prepared to commit to the ongoing path of raising professional and education standards will likely have a bright future ahead of them in the financial advice industry
Senior Lecturer, Banking & Finance
UNSW Business School
Financial planners have a bright future
With an ageing population and superannuation assets totaling more than two trillion dollars, many Australians require ongoing guidance for their retirement.
“Superannuation rules have become more complex, particularly in light of the latest superannuation reform, and clients do need to rely on good advice to help them navigate through these complex rules and meet their retirement objectives,” says Nidal.
“Furthermore, financial planning is much broader than helping clients with their superannuation savings,” he adds. “Financial planning covers other important aspects of wealth management including, investment, risk and cash flow management, in addition to the increasingly important areas of retirement succession and estate planning.”
Nidal points to new professional and education standards for financial advisers, and the creation of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA). This new framework effectively imposes additional education requirements on both existing and new advisers. For existing advisers this will depend on their current educational status.
“Advisers who are prepared to commit to the ongoing path of raising professional and education standards will likely have a bright future ahead of them in the financial advice industry” he says. “The UNSW Master of Financial Planning prepares those graduates aiming for a career in financial planning.”