The world today requires students to be put to the test with real life scenarios and practical exercises. This year the South China Morning Post and the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong (IFPHK) provided a platform for students to explore the world of financial planning and put into practice lessons learnt in the classroom. Phil Neilson, CEO, The Henley Group and a final round judge, said 'teaching life skills in school and university is not common and normally not part of any core curriculum', and explained this competition had enabled students to gain 'financial literacy' in the process. Angeline Chin, CEO, IFPHK, agreed and said: 'They get to understand that financial planning is a process that encompasses several concepts. The competition provides an excellent teaching tool to apply this knowledge.' She said the competition raised awareness of, and introduced, financial planning as a rewarding career to students while exposing them to the industry. 'It provides a jump-start to a career in financial planning,' she explained. 'We are educating our young to better manage their financials.' Unlike the practitioner category, students were assessed with a standard case and additional assistance was provided by a professor who introduced basic financial concepts and gave tips on formulating a good financial plan to the students, Ms Chin said. Sixty-one teams, comprising 232 students, tested their mettle for the chance to win a HK$6,000 scholarship and an opportunity to work at ING Platform Services as part of a mentorship programme. 'What these students will have learnt ... [is] how to become financially successful, what are some of the principles and some of the practical things you can do to ensure you will become financially successful,' Mr Neilson said. 'So you know what's that worth? ... It's not just theoretical.'