Financial literacy, or the understanding of how money works in the world and how to manage one’s own money, is an important topic for young college students.

Dean of the Broad College of Business Sanjay Gupta and President of MSU Federal Credit Union April Clobes judge the Financial Literacy competition.

MSU Broad College of Business students, faculty, staffers and sponsors gather at McDonel Hall as students make their presentations on financial literacy Tuesday March 22, 2016.

With many students learning for the first time how to handle their own money, leaders at the Broad College of Business thought it important for first-year business students to better understand their own finances. They applied for and received a $2,500 Dean’s Choice Award from the MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) to sponsor a financial literacy competition.

Eleven teams of Broad Residential Business Program freshmen entered by submitting executive summaries on “The Potential Benefits and Pitfalls Facing College Students in Using Credit Cards.” The top six teams were chosen to give a six- to eight-minute presentation at the competition March 22.

The judges consisted of Dean of the Broad College of Business Sanjay Gupta and MSUFCU President April Clobes.

“I thought the event was fantastic,” said Clobes. “Everyone took a different approach, so the topics presented, even though it was the same topic, you saw a robust explanation of the different parts of it.”

“I was pleased that they took some effort to research the intricacies of the individual cards and instruments and what goes behind everything,” said Gupta.

Freshman Ryan Fernandes and junior Simrit Jhita won the grand prize of $1,200.

“We put in about a week’s worth of work in total between the executive summary and the presentation,” said Jhita.

“It feels like the work paid off,” said Fernandes.

Both students have decided to put their winnings into their savings accounts.

Their tips for financial success were to keep track of all expenses, use free resources to learn more about finances, but when looking for guidance it’s always better to go to a professional.

Austin Ader and Eddie Ortiz won second place ($800), while Austin Rieck, Peyton Pawlusiak, and Sara Condra took third place ($500).

Many students touched on key factors of choosing a credit card and how to set oneself up for future success.

Almost all the groups mentioned that knowing one’s spending habits should heavily influence what type of card a student should choose. For students who don’t want to overspend or remember to pay bills on a monthly basis, a debit card which draws directly from a checking account would suit their lifestyle better.

For those students who have larger expenses and are ready to build their credit score, a credit card is the way to go. Many groups suggested the Discover It student credit card.

In the future, Dean Gupta would like to have many more similar events, where there can be wider participation and important takeaways for the students outside of the classroom.

Amy Radford-Popp, assistant director of the Residential Business Program community, said the emphasis of the research piece was incredibly beneficial for the students.

“The students have been very appreciative of just how much this opportunity gives them a chance to interact with folks they don’t interact with every day,” said Radford-Popp.