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Robyn Jensen

Degree Program: Master's in Human Sciences - Family Financial Planning

Graduation Year: 2013

Why did you choose to further your education online?

I had reached a point in my career three years after completing my Bachelor's that I had everything I originally set out to achieve in my career, but I found myself wanting to be challenged and achieving more than I had originally planned. I wanted to obtain a professional designation as well as pursue my master's degree in financial planning. I chose to further my education online because this gave me the flexibility to continue to gain valuable work experience in my career as well as obtain my master's degree and complete the education requirements necessary in order for me to sit for a professional designation which is the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, CFP® examination. Online classes meant I didn't have to give up hours at work or my career in order to go back to school. SDSU has a great program that integrates other highly respected universities into the financial planning online program, so I was able to attend each of the universities while living in Minneapolis, MN through the online courses.

What interests you about your major?

My career and passion is in the financial services industry and it is important to set yourself apart from the competition. I wanted to deliver the best experience possible to clients and that meant furthering my education and obtaining my master's degree in financial planning. South Dakota State University's Family Financial Planning program is registered by the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ Board of Standards as well as sets itself apart from other institutions in that the online courses will be offered through highly accredited universities in the GPIDEA program including: Iowa State University, Kansas State University, University of Missouri, Montana State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, North Dakota State University, Oklahoma State University and South Dakota State University.  Diversification is an important concept in investment planning and this is what I was doing by enrolling in my master's program through SDSU and attending courses at the various institutions. Obtaining a master's degree from South Dakota State University also gives me the education credits I need in order to sit for the esteemed Certified Financial Planner examination to earn my CFP® designation. South Dakota State University's program will give me a valued education in my field that will allow me to build a successful career as a financial planner and more importantly best serve my community.

What has been your most interesting class?

Each of the classes within the program acted as a foundation for my most interesting class, the Financial Planning Case Study course. The Financial Planning Case Study course was one of the most intense classes I took in the program, but that is what made it the most interesting. The FP Case Study course is the capstone of the program and integrates theories from each of the required courses within the program by having the student create a comprehensive financial plan. This course allowed me to "put it all together" into a comprehensive financial plan for a client that integrated all areas of financial planning without the ability to utilize financial planning software which meant each analysis was calculated by hand using a financial calculator. Weekly I was also tested on advanced theory within each area of financial planning, much like what the Certified Financial Planning examination would entail.  The opportunity to integrate the knowledge learned from each course into a comprehensive financial plan gave me the confidence to know I am ready for my financial planning career.

How have the faculty and staff enhanced your experience?

The continuing education faculty and staff were always quick to deliver a response to an email or question as well as gave me advanced notice of deadlines and forms required. By being so attentive to my correspondence, this bridged the gap between face to face communications during the program.

What is your favorite SDSU experience?

My favorite SDSU experience was being involved in campus activities and organizations including; Collegiate 4-H, Alpha Xi Delta, SDSU Rodeo Team, Intramural Sports, College Entrepreneurs Organization, National Consumers League and all SDSU sporting events. Go Jacks!

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I see myself successful in the financial services industry as a Certified Financial Planner as well as giving back to students as an instructor teaching online courses which are required to obtain the education requirements needed in order to sit for the CFP® examination. 

What piece of advice would you give new online students?

It is important to effectively manage your time with online courses and set aside specific hours/days in which you will complete the required weekly assignments. Give yourself time to adjust during your first course, so you can understand the hours you will need to dedicate to your program and this will serve as a basis for what you can expect throughout the program as you increase your course load as well as take higher level courses.

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