As a high school student in the Anchorage School District, I decided to apply for the Gifted Mentorship program in my junior year. The Gifted Mentorship program is an out-of-the-classroom course in which students can experience real world career paths by connecting to a professional in their field of choice. As I hope to one day study business and work in finance, I applied for a mentorship opportunity and with the help of the amazing mentorship coordinator, was placed at Alaska Permanent Capital Management this past December.
Since acceptance to the program and the initial placement conference, I have worked with both Mr. Case and Ms. Butler to get a sense of what it is like to work in both portfolio management and financial planning. In the beginning, we discussed common investment strategies and plans, such as fixed income versus balanced accounts and active versus passive investment. In order to understand these basics, we went through a JP Morgan resource called “Guide to the Markets”. Furthermore, I explored the Bloomberg Terminal, a broad functioning research and analysis tool.
In order to be able to navigate the Bloomberg Terminal, I started watching the introductory videos, and learned how to build monitors and spreadsheets with the software. I was able to put my learning to use by not only building my own monitors and spreadsheets, but beginning to understand what things like the S&P 500 is, what the Barclays Aggregate is, and who Mario Draghi is.
Meanwhile, with Ms. Butler, I have been learning the simpler parts of financial planning. Through designing retirement and college plans using the Money Guide Pro software with given sample information such as income, pension, assets, healthcare costs, and mortgage, I have gained an understanding of the importance of financial planning. When I was first introduced to the software, filling out all the information was very confusing and I was never entirely sure what number went in what box and so on, but after creating a couple of plans, I became more competent and independent in using the software.
Already in the close of March, it feels strange to think back to the beginning of my mentorship experience in January. The time I have spent at APCM has been amazing, educational, and also quite fun. I am grateful for the time, effort, and patience put in by my mentors to make this opportunity possible and look forward to a future in finance.
A word from APCM: Elana has been an enthusiastic learner and a credit to the program. She says in consideration of her senior year, “I’m excited to be finished but it will be scary. There is a support system here that you don’t have in college.” From working with Elana the past couple months we know that she has many skills to draw upon to achieve great things.
Best wishes Elana, from all of us at APCM