Nicole Dunn, a senior personal financial planning major from Coppell, and Shelby Huber, a senior personal financial planning major from Keller, were chosen to participate in TD Ameritrade’s annual National LINC Conference in Orlando, Florida, in February.
Both Dunn and Huber received scholarships from TD Ameritrade, according to a news release from TD Ameritrade. This scholarship gave them the opportunity to attend the conference.
“TD Ameritrade contacted us and wanted Shelby and I to be student ambassadors at this year’s conference,” Dunn said. “They paid for everything so we could participate in the conference in Orlando.”
Getting the opportunity to attend the conference was a blessing, Dunn said.
This was not the first time Huber attended the conference, she said. The conference was hosted in San Diego last year, and Huber had a different experience than she had at this year’s conference.
“When I went the first time, I had not gotten an internship,” Huber said. “I was in a lot of my core course material, so I was still learning a lot. I had been to other conferences but this was the biggest one. There were thousands of advisers there. It was a big opportunity to learn about the industry while networking.”
This year, after completing an internship, Huber said she knew more about the industry. Because of this, she got more out of the sessions and the networking aspect of the conference, she said.
It was special for Dunn to attend her first conference with Huber because she was the one who first exposed Dunn to the idea of financial planning, she said. Through time, they have become close.
“She’s become one of my best friends in the program,” Dunn said. “Going with someone who I’m so close with was really beneficial. In a way, she has mentored me through it even though she is my peer. She has guided me through the financial planning program and through the conference.”
Huber said taking on the conference as a pair made it more comfortable for her.
“We were each other’s ‘wing women,’” Dunn said. “It would have been a struggle to meet other people and network when you don’t have anyone you know there.”
There were more than 3,200 advisers and other industry professionals at this year’s conference, according to the TD Ameritrade release, and students had the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions, panel discussions and networking events.
Dunn said she learned many new skills during her first conference experience.
“I learned how to network in different situations,” Dunn said. “It was kind of scary, but I got to talk to students from different places.”
Applying for these scholarships gives students the chance to meet other students in similar situations throughout the nation, Huber said.
“The opportunities that came from this scholarship are invaluable,” Huber said. “You are not meeting people from your program, but people from different programs in different schools across the nation.”
Dunn said she is grateful for the opportunity TD Ameritrade gave them to attend the conference.
“TD Ameritrade doesn’t hold back in giving back to their employees and their students,” Dunn said. “They really want students to be encouraged, especially women. They really encourage diversity and encourage students to go out and get their certification and be good professionals in the world. They are a great company.”