01 Jun 2018 18:29 IST

How a money olympiad teaches the youth about personal finance

Around 20,000 students from 369 colleges, across 142 cities, took part in the competition

The Youth Money Olympiad (YMO) 2018 award function was held in Chennai, for the first time since its inception in 2015, recently. Previously, the functions were organised at the finance capital of the country, Mumbai.

Around 20,000 students from 369 colleges, across 142 cities, took part in the competition that aims to evaluate and strengthen one’s knowledge of personal finance. Students were first assessed on a college level test, then on a national level; both of them were in the multiple choice question format. The tests covered areas in finance such as banking, insurance, stocks and mutual funds.

Vadde Makkala Prudhvi Raju, 24, from Siva Sivani Institute of Management won the olympiad, followed by Udit Kasera, 29, from IIM Bangalore, and Jyotiranjan Raj, 25, IIM Rohtak. The best campus entrepreneur award went to Chandra Mouli A, 21, from Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies, and Svethlana M, 23, from St Ann’s College for Women, was the runners-up.

Talking about his win, Prudhvi said, “I not only studied for this but also read books and newspapers, interacted with different kinds of people, and learnt from the smallest of experiences. It helped that I was interning at a mutual funds company as many questions were on that subject.” Jyotiranjan echoes these sentiments – his internship at an insurance company helped him better understand the world of finance.

Rengaraju Janakiraman, VP and Portfolio Manager, Franklin Templeton AMC, was the chief guest. The competition was organised by Money-Wizards, with partial sponsorship from a private trust. Venkatesh Varadachari and Prof Thillai Rajan, Co-founders of Money-Wizards, were also present at the event.

In his address, Janakiraman talked about the value of finance education in today’s youth. “The business environment is more volatile than it used to be, because information is assimilated quicker. Rapid factoring of information leads to quick development of society. This makes creating a financial safety net for the future more important, especially since the government can’t provide for everyone. If society has a high level of financial literacy, it could nudge the government to come up with more sustainable economic policies.”

Talking about how money is the fuel that runs life, Prof Rajan, who teaches finance at IIT, Madras DoMS, said, “One must know how to manage and handle money. While people have access to more opportunities these days, the information available is biased towards the seller and the consumer is not in a position to look beyond. This is why we must learn about the restrictions that accompany the benefits of finance plans. We need to look at the fine print.”

All the dignitaries stressed on educating people on finance from a young age in order to create change.