Thank you to the contestants of The Motley Fool College Competition 2017/2018. The competition was open to anyone over the age of 18 currently in school and we were so impressed by the quality of entries! Our judges reviewed over 150 entries to find our favorite piece to win $10,000, and 20 runners-up to win $1,000. Thank you to everyone who took part. The passion for personal finance and investing, and your unique approaches to answering our prompts, delighted us. Without further ado, please meet The Motley Fool College Competition 2017/18 winner and runners-up.
Our winner: Joshua Friedeman
Joshua attends Regent University where he studies Organizational Leadership. Joshua impressed us with his open letter to older generations on how to get millennials' attention on money-related matters. His thoughts on investing to make the world a better place -- even when the returns aren't immediately apparent -- and his work teaching a financial skills class wowed us. He is a Foolish fit for our first place.
Joshua's best investing lesson comes from his dad who told him not to go into debt for anything but your house. Though Joshua acknowledges there's some nuance to that, he said his father has given him a "head start" in life by helping him avoid getting significantly into debt.
Josh's yearbook quote/haiku:
I invest it now
With the belief it will make
More than me some day
Runner-up: Lindsey Welch
Lindsey is studying Business Journalism and Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her article headline for a discussion on the smartphone market -- "Oversaturated: No, I'm Not Talking About Your Instagram Filter" -- raised a few smiles here at Fool HQ. An innovative infographic taking us through the journey of how Lindsey got interested in investing sealed the deal. Lindsey's best financial advice — "Start putting your money in savings early because you'll never miss it once you're used to it being gone." We couldn't agree more! Find Lindsey on LinkedIn.
"Make the money, don't let the money make you."-Macklemore
Runner-up: Christopher De Notto
Christopher is getting his MBA at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. His thoughtful and thought-provoking piece on crowdsourced quant investing funds blew us away and shed some light on a niche topic. Christopher's detailed presentation of changes to the Dow Jones Industrial Average components for the last 90 years, and what that might reflect of the overall U.S. economy, was fascinating. Christopher's best advice on managing money comes from Fool favorite, Warren Buffett: "We don't have to be smarter than the rest; we have to be more disciplined than the rest." Find Christopher on LinkedIn.
"Pay yourself first". In other words, if you are juggling bills and expenses, it's key to always try to prioritize your personal savings.
Runner-up: Albert Aldrich III
Albert attends NYU Stern School of Business where he is studying Finance and Management. His detailed review of how the 2008 financial crisis has formed millennials opinions around investing and personal finance was unique and interesting. Albert's argument around why over 50% of millennials don't feel comfortable putting their money in the stock market, and his discussion of the solutions for that, impressed the judges. This coupled with his step-by-step guide on how to approach investing made him a winner in our book. The best advice Albert's ever heard on managing money is from Warren Buffett's 2004 shareholder letter: "...be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful." Find Albert on LinkedIn.
"Fortune sides with him who dares"-Virgil
Runner-up: Grant Kleiman
Grant is studying Professional Writing at Southwest Minnesota State University and also teaches elementary and middle-school kids about personal finance. His entry "Is CRISPR the Most Important Discovery of the 21st Century?" gripped our judges and bought a lot of nods of approval from the healthcare analysts on the judging panel. Grant's witty and informative piece on "What I Learned About Money from a Bag of Potato Chips" was totally Foolish. His words of wisdom on managing your money: "Be intentional with your money. Take control of your earning, spending, saving and investing, instead of just hoping for things to turn out."
"Want what you have."
Runner-up: Nima Abbaszadeh
Nima is a double major in Business Management and Health Sciences at Stony Brook University. Nima's bullish thesis on why Disney makes a great long-term investment was music to the judges' ears. His comprehensive understanding of the business strategy and growth levers really impressed us. An infographic on the "5 Steps to Becoming a Good Long-Term Investor" showed Nima was a true Foolish investor. Nima's investing advice comes from Warren Buffett who he says "has a special way of mixing wisdom and simplicity." His favorite of Buffett's quotes? "Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." Find Nima on LinkedIn.
"The first-level thinker works to spend his money, the second-level thinker works to save his money, and the third-level thinker lets his money work for him."
Runner-up: Brett Cave
Brett is in his first year of graduate school getting his MBA at the University of Southern Indiana. The judging panel really enjoyed Brett's big-thinking, thoughtful piece on the future of the energy storage market, the macro issues driving the the trend, and investing ideas from the rising field. Brett gets his passion for investing from his father and his genuine enthusiasm for stocks clearly came across. We felt as though Brett shared the Fool's mission to teach the world to invest better. Brett's favorite financial advice is to "invest in yourself, and make financial decisions you believe in."
"The most important investment you can make is in yourself."
Runner-up: Daniel Smith
Daniel is studying German, Business, and Accounting at McDaniel College. Daniel's discussion about the impact of student loans on the millennial generation, and his thoughtful dissection of the statistics around millennials and their behaviors, was a great read. Also, his presentation of how choosing to learn German has shaped his life and investment decision was insightful and demonstrated an inquisitive mind. Daniel's best advice on money comes from Warren Buffett: "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." Find Daniel on LinkedIn.
"Money equals business which equals power, all of which come from character and trust" -- J.P Morgan
Robert attends Lafayette College. He's a Government and Law major, minoring in Economics. We really enjoyed Robert's entry on the impact of financial technology on helping to democratize money management and help millennials start investing. We couldn't agree more with his argument on the benefits of investing early to feel the full effects of compound interest. Robert's transcript of a conversation between himself and other students was an innovative way to demonstrate how interested students can become in investing and personal finance, if given some mentoring and guidance. Robert's Mom has been very formative in the way he views managing his money. She has taught Robert to be frugal, start investing early, but to also enjoy life, travel, and spend on experiences. He says: "Our house is modest, but our experiences and memories fill it with happiness."
"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." -Warren Buffett.
Runner-up: Michael Schaloum
Michael attends Grand Canyon University where he is studying Finance and Economics. Michael's entry advocated for the merits of compound interest and teaching children the value of delayed gratification when it comes to managing money. His practical suggestions for how young people can become more financially savvy and prepare for retirement impressed the panel. Michael's passion for investing shone through, and it was great to see his desire to help others learn. The best advice Michael has heard on money was on a Motley Fool podcast where one analyst commented "focus on the percentage gain, not the dollar gain." Find Michael on twitter @Schaloum or on LinkedIn.
"It's only dirty paper with numbers on it."
Runner-up: Kristen Proctor
Kristen attends East Carolina University where she is getting her Master of Science in Counselor Education. Kristen's timely commentary of the data privacy debate, and her thoughtful review of the consequences for tech companies of not protecting user information was an insightful read. Her supporting infographic detailing data protection regulation broke down a complex subject matter and sealed the deal. The best advice Kirsten's every heard on money? "If you can't pay for it in cash, you don't need it."
"Does it count toward retirement?"
Runner-up: Abby Wagner
Abby attends Temple University where she is getting her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Abby's entry talked about the by product of an increasingly tech-obsessed society: e-waste. Her thorough discussion of the issue and of the potential solution, shed light on a underdiscussed problem. The judging panel loved Abby's infographic: "A Poor, Broke, Non-Financially Savvy Student's Guide for Investing." The best advice Abby has heard on money comes from her father: "My father has instilled in me the idea that every dollar counts. Whether it be a large amount of money I put into a big investment such as a car or spending a few dollars each week on coffee. Both ways of spending money add up and matter in the long run. This was a very important lesson that I have taken with me through life."
"Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes." -- Zig Ziglar
Runner-up: Colin Dando
Colin currently attends the University of Alaska Southeast where he is studying accounting and working toward his CPA. Colin's review of Atlassian was fundamentally Foolish and touched on two points we hold dear -- the merits of leadership and great corporate culture. His presentation on the 2017 Tax Reform Act broke down a sometimes-difficult topic into an easy to understand guide. The best advice Colin has been given about investing is not to be panic when the market drops and his portfolio is down. He got this advice from someone who had made this mistake at the bottom of the last recession and he has vowed to learn from their mistake. Find Colin on Twitter @cadando or on LinkedIn.
"I will tell you the secret to getting rich on Wall Street. You try to be greedy when others are fearful. And you try to be fearful when others are greedy." -- Warren Buffett
Runner-up: Julia Zuercher
Julia is studying Veterinary Medicine at Virginia-Maryland College. Julia had a unique approach in her entry discussing the importance -- especially at a young age -- of making good financial decisions and how to reach people to help educate and inform on money management.
She also managed to educate some of the judges on the true meaning of "woke." The judges really enjoyed Julia's video, "How to Invest When You're Broke" it was funny, engaging, and informative. We know how hard it is to make compound interest cool and Julia managed to do it! Julia's best investing advice comes from her Mom who taught her the balance between keeping a budget while remaining flexible. Find Julia on LinkedIn.
"You can always afford what you prioritize."
Runner-up: Ali Kahil
Ali is a Senior at George Mason University Majoring in Finance & Minoring in Global Affairs. The judges enjoyed Ali's unique approach to the prompt question. His use of an adaption of the Moore's law concept to talk about financial barriers to entry made for an interesting read. We enjoyed watching Ali's CNBC interview and it was clear to us that he has a genuine enthusiasm for investing. The best advice Ali has been given on money is: "Don't be like everyone else who works for money but be one of the few who makes money work for you!" Find Ali on Twitter @alikahil or on LinkedIn.
"I still can't believe you can graduate from college without a single required class in managing personal finances."
Runner-up: Ryan McWay
Ryan is getting his Master of Science in International and Development Economics at the University of San Francisco. Ryan's thesis around the rising competition Huawei is bringing in the U.S. to the popular hardware makers, such as Apple and Samsung, was thorough and showed genuine interest in, and passion for, investing.
The judges really enjoyed reading Ryan's future-focused review of automation and the pivotal role it will play in shaping the jobs market. The best advice Ryan has heard on investing? Invest in what you know. Find Ryan on LinkedIn.
"Always Follow the Money"
Runner-up: Amanda Webb
Amanda is currently studying English Literature at Tarrant County Community College with the hopes of becoming a teacher. The judges enjoyed reading Amanda's thorough takedown of some of the misconceptions about younger people and her assertion that realistic and actionable advice on finance is the way to go.
Amanda's presentation demonstrating the journey a lot of young people take when trying to get on top of their finances was a fun read and highlighted the pain-points for people when it comes to making personal finance choices. Amanda's piece of advice on managing your money comes from her Dad: "Save the hundreds and 'live' off the tens."
"Go to community college first."
Runner-up: Ryan Reeves
Ryan just graduated from Pepperdine University where he was studying Business. Ryan is a longtime fan of the Fool and that shone through in his entries. His detailed and engaging review of the software company Alteryx was incredibly compelling and his accompanying infographic on "How to Find 10-Baggers" was sure to be a Fool favorite.
We particularly liked the closing line of Ryan's infographic – "Enjoy success and pass on the lessons!" We couldn't agree more. Ryan's best advice is, when investing, above all else, focus on the business results. Find Ryan on LinkedIn.
"It's not about timing the market, it's about time in the market"
Runner-up: Charles Ely
Charles attends Centre College where he's a double major in accounting and Finance, and Computer Science. Charles' balanced approach to reviewing the topic of millennials and their money was thoughtful, fact laden, and an enjoyable read. His infographic broke down his entry into a digestible format and was fun and instructive.
The best advice Charles has been given on managing your money is that it doesn't matter how much you earn; if you never live within your means you'll never become financially independent. Find Charles on LinkedIn.
"Abundance is harder for us to handle than scarcity." -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Runner-up: Zachery Wolfe
Zach is getting his Master of Science in Entomology (the study of insects) at Perdue University. Zach helped to restore faith in the millennial generation by questioning the statistics and looking past the headlines.
His presentation, "How to Become a Millionaire," was funny, simple, and educational. The best advice Zach has heard on money is to live below your means: "If you spend every dime you make, you will work until you die." Find Zach on LinkedIn.
"Live like no one else today, so you can live like no one else tomorrow."
-- Dave Ramsey
Runner-up: Troy Springer
Troy is studying Business and Leadership at the University of Richmond. The judges really enjoyed Troy's entry advocating for financial education is schools. It's something we feel strongly about here at Fool HQ.
Troy's supplemental article on "How to Be an Investor" was an informative and entertaining piece. The best advice Troy has heard on investing comes from well-known investor Peter Lynch: "Know what you own and know why you own it." Find Troy on Twitter @TSprings11 or on LinkedIn.
"If past history was all that is needed to play the game of money, the richest people would be librarians." -- Warren Buffett
If you would like to enter The Motley Fool College Competition later this year keep checking this page.