What I've Learned - Alaska Permanent Capital Management


What I’ve Learned

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The year is coming to an end and, unfortunately, so is my time at APCM. I started working here as an intern back in May and will be mov­ing on to different adventures with the start of the new year. I’m grateful for the opportunity APCM has provided to me (and every other intern they have hosted throughout the past 25 years) and will look back positively at my time here. I wanted to write this blog to share three of the most important things that I have learned during the past eight or so months.

  1. Teamwork makes the dream work

If you had asked me as I was graduating from college in April how much I enjoyed teamwork and how much of it I would like in my future career, I would have said 0%. Teamwork to me never meant cohesion or synergy; it was always bickering, unequal workloads, and an overall bad time. That changed when I got here.

You’d think it was just the private wealth team that worked in a group, but you’d be severely mistaken; the institutional team also works in a collaborative manner with all their projects. When working with each team in the office, I always felt like my ideas were being valued and listened to. There was cohesion and synergy, exactly what I had been missing in my group projects before.

What I’ve learned is that it wasn’t that I hated teamwork, it was just that I was working with the wrong team.

  1. You get a lot of agency when working at a small company

The reason many small businesses are successful is because their employees wear many different hats. When I started here, I assumed my two hats would be intern for the private wealth side of the business (AWMI) and intern for the institutional team. Though those two hats were worn, I also wore the one of “Information Technology” intern.

From running a live social media wall at an event to climbing under desks and taking apart computers, I never thought that I would get to do so much technology work, nor did I think I would enjoy it so much. I got to set up scanning software, install hard drives on computers, and troubleshoot general problems in the office.

What I’ve learned is that the flexibility skills mastered by working in a company that requires you to wear multiple hats (often at the same time) leads to the most fun and fulfilling work one can do.

  1. Learning never stops

My high school guidance counselor once told me that I was the type of person who loved to learn, but didn’t enjoy the rigidity of a traditional classroom setting. She was right; my curiosities about the world were never fulfilled in the classroom. As other students got answers, I kept asking more questions. When I started interning here, I was fully immersed in a workplace filled to the brim with intelligent and inquisitive personalities, who always had answers to the bombardment of questions I consistently had.

Finance in the classroom is nothing like finance in the real world. I felt like my education in the classroom laid a strong foundation for understanding the industry, but my time at APCM has really done most of the carpentry. Well, it has at least started the process. There is a lot still to learn.

Everyone here is always learning, analyzing, and studying research. The private wealth team scours personal finance blogs by top industry professionals to discuss at their weekly meetings. The institutional team is constantly reading and listening to research presentations on broad economic outlooks in the markets.

What I’ve learned is that there is always more to learn, and it pays off to be surrounded by a company culture that emphasizes that very notion.

Arina Filippenko


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