Houston is home to multiple business programs, including numerous MBA programs, all of which have increased the number of Houstonians with a great business sense. Those who are interested in helping others with their business acumen can become certified financial planners for the many Houstonians who are retirees or thinking about retirement. Nancy Gardner discusses her business education and its impact on her work. 

(Photo Courtesy of Nancy Gardner)

(Photo Courtesy of Nancy Gardner)

What degree program did you study?

“I received an MBA with a concentration in finance from Rice University.”

What does your current position entail?

“My position is client relationship manager. I am responsible for acting as a financial quarterback for my clients and addressing their financial planning needs and goals. I also do business development.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

“My education continues to prepare me for my role. My Certified Financial Planner® designation has taught me the skill sets to do planning. I learned how to do business development through the training program at my first job in the financial services industry. It had a one-year training program. Through my MBA, I learned how to start or grow a business that could come in handy when Tanglewood decides to expand its footprint. Much of what I do in communicating with clients was learned through experience.”

Have you participated in any form of continuing education since beginning this position?

“I have ongoing continuing education requirements for my designation. I must take 30 hours of relevant and approved planning courses every two years to maintain my designation.”

Do you have any advice for people who would be interested in pursuing a similar career?

“I would suggest that if someone thinks they want to go into the financial services industry that they intern while in college at different types of businesses in the industry. Working at a registered investment advisory firm and sitting in as an observer at a few client and prospect meetings will go a long way to determining if there is a true desire to become a financial advisor. An individual could also intern at a brokerage firm for a more bustling atmosphere.”

“It is also important for the individual to do an honest self-assessment to determine if they are an extrovert and want to help and work with the public on a daily basis. If not, entering the field will be a bad decision. An individual who does business development also has to become very confident, as well as competent, and not be deterred by rejection because it will occur.”

“In addition, get practical knowledge by shadowing or partnering with an experienced advisor.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.