With an established career in government lobbying, advocacy and policy, Anna Bell Gall is typical of someone who registered for The Virtual Externship as part of a career change strategy. “What drew me in was how convenient it was to integrate The Externship juggling a full-time job and family obligations,” she says. “What inspired me was getting a frank and transparent deep dive into what true holistic financial planning looks like to various advisors and clients.” She is now happy working at a small financial planning firm in Austin, Texas.
Alejandro Aceves Madriz, a business finance major at San Francisco State University, is typical of the college students who have benefited from The Externship. Madriz completed the Externship in the summer of 2022. That he was able to satisfy the program’s requirements while at the same time completing a physical internship is a feature of the program. Because the segments such as simulations of a real client meeting are recorded, he was able to do the work and assignments after he completed his daytime commitments. Madriz credits his certificate from The Virtual Externship as a big factor in a wealth management firm extending an offer of employment when he graduates in May 2023.
Kristen Heller, now an advisor with Planning for Good, an independent financial planning firm in Mansfield, Mass., was working for an insurance broker/dealer after years with a property development firm when she enrolled in the very first Virtual Externship class. Her goal was to transition her career to holistic financial planning. Heller also had enrolled in a CFP-preparation program, which was promptly cancelled.
“I was just starting to find my footing, and now all the traditional pathways to my goals were closed,” Keller recalls. Luckily, through her membership in the Financial Planning Association (The FPA was an early sponsor of The Externship), Keller found a new path forward. She promptly registered for the program, understanding that the obligation is around 25 hours per week. “It came into my life just when I needed it and I’m grateful,” Heller says. “The Externship provided me with the confidence to move from the insurance side to financial planning.”