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First AMP University Challenge winner urges students to follow in her footsteps
14 July 2020

The first winner of the AMP University Challenge, now in its 10th year, credits the competition with launching her on a successful career in financial advice.

Michelle Carroll says the 2011 University Challenge showed her she was on the right career path and forged the connections that have helped her advance in financial advice.

The competition gives university and TAFE students the opportunity to test their skills as a financial adviser and share in $10,000 in prize money if they reach the finals. Students now have their last chance to take a shot at the finals with the opening of Semester 2 of the competition this week.

“Just go for it, you’ve got nothing to lose,” Michelle says.

“If you do make it to finals day you’ll make some contacts that you can use in the future and you’ll be able to talk to people who’ve been in the industry and (learn from) their experiences.”

Michelle says that when she entered in 2011, she was working in an advice practice and completing a business degree, but not sure if she wanted a career in financial services.

“After doing the Uni Challenge it really confirmed it was the right area for me,” Michelle says. “It really opened my eyes to the opportunities that were out there.”

As a student, the prize money also came in very handy, she adds.

The experience kept paying dividends even years later when a referral from a senior AMP executive, whom she had connected with at finals day at AMP’s Sydney headquarters, helped her in a successful job application.

She also forged lasting connections with her fellow finalists, keeping in touch with them to this day.

2020 competitors entering now will receive their first assignment - devising a financial plan for a hypothetical couple. The students with the best financial plans from the Semester 1 and 2 rounds of competition will then be chosen to compete in the finals in October, a challenging round of activities and quizzes that will decide the ultimate winner.

Michelle has come full circle in her career and after working as a financial adviser now coaches financial advisers in compliance matters.

“It’s really satisfying,” she says.

So what tips does Michelle have for AMP University Challenge competitors trying to write a financial plan for our hypothetical couple, to whom they will have to present their plan if they reach the finals?

“You’ve got to be very careful you don’t put too much information in (the plan) but you’ve also got to get straight to the point,” Michelle says.

“It’s got to be readable for the client and that’s what they are looking for.”

The AMP University Challenge is open to all Australian tertiary students, whether or not they are studying financial planning. Submissions close on 7 September.

Enter now at