December 2019

Meet Christopher Fono, a graduate student pursuing an MBA in Financial Planning at California Lutheran University.  In May 2018, Fono graduated from Cal Lutheran with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. His choice to study an MBA in a different career direction from his undergraduate degree came when he was researching careers after graduating, there was something about financial planning and business that caught his eye.

Working on the VCLA Pro Bono Project

By being part of the Financial Planning Program, Fono had the opportunity to work on the Ventura County Lodging Association (VCLA) Pro Bono Project, which partnered with California Lutheran University, to design, develop, and administer a Request for Proposal (RFP) of short term asset management services. He worked on a team of six graduate students alongside professionals. 

Being part of the project allowed him to meet a variety of people in various stages of their career, which allowed the graduate students to grow connections, build knowledge, and develop their network. Students worked in groups with different people, applying financial planning techniques, and learning how to plan.

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“All students get individual, different projects to obtain learning experience,” said Fono. Working with deadlines and collaborations are key to financial planning. Fono said it felt different from anything he had participated in beforehand, and it was not like any previous school project as there was more structure and delegated areas to focus on one section.

Fono’s goal for the future is to work with investments. He hopes to work in the financial planning industry and obtain his CFP®  designation in three to five years. When he was an undergraduate student he had an internship in business law.

From CLU Undergraduate to Graduate

While an undergraduate student at California Lutheran University, his favorite part of college was the independence, he made the most of his newfound independence by having four to five different jobs during this time and started his personal training business, as well as played soccer for two years along with softball and basketball.

If he could be an undergraduate again, Fono would take a business degree instead of his criminology and criminal justice degree and take classes more seriously. His piece of advice to students is to “make the first couple of years count as it’s the foundation for the rest of your time at college… and do everything you want to do.” The four years at college go by quicker than you may imagine before you realize it may be too late to part of that club or try that activity you have always wanted to do. 

Fono has participated in the MBA in Financial Planning program for a year and is on track to graduate in January 2021. He describes it as “fast-paced but steady and building a depth of knowledge about financial planning.” Being part of the program has allowed him to build strong relationships with his professors and fellow students after working with them closely in small class sizes. “California Lutheran University really works with you to find you a job after graduating,” said Fono. 

If you are interested in MBA in Financial Planning and want to learn more about the MBA Financial Planning program or the minor available to undergraduates, reach out to the Financial Planning Program here at California Lutheran University or visit our website for more information. 

About the Speaker:

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Christopher Fono is a graduate student pursuing an MBA in Financial Planning at California Lutheran University.  In May 2018, Fono graduated from California Lutheran University with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. 

rosieAbout the Author:

Rosie Baker is an undergraduate student at California Lutheran University, graduating in May 2021. She is studying Communication with an emphasis in PR and Advertising and has a minor in Creative Writing. In July 2020 she published her first book, Mirrors & Windows: Unlocking a New Framework to Envision Your Successwith New Degree Press.