Thursday, July 25, 2013

Whitworth alumna works as an equity analyst intern in preparation for graduate school


Annika Westre, ’13, is completing a summer internship at Hart Capital Management, in Spokane, Wash., before heading to Boston University this fall to begin work on a master’s degree in mathematical finance. Westre graduated from Whitworth with a B.A. degree in mathematical economics and mathematics.

As an equity analyst intern, Westre’s main responsibilities include performing company, industry and market analysis using financial metrics. She also prepares valuation models to provide insight and research on different companies. “I am learning about methods for testing the health and future growth of companies, which is used to make intelligent and profitable investment decisions,” Westre says.

After completing her internship, Westre will attend Boston University’s Graduate School of Management to earn a master’s degree in mathematical finance. “It is an interdisciplinary degree that fuses computational skills of math and computer science with finance and management skills,” she says.

The intensive program will take approximately 17 months to complete. Westre says she looks forward to the challenges of the program, which comprises primarily international students and retains a 95 percent job-placement rate for its graduates. After graduating, Westre plans to work toward a career in asset management.

Westre points to her Whitworth education as being foundational in preparing her for her ideal career. She also says that the quality of education Whitworth provides has given the university a strong reputation in the Spokane business community. “Whitworth challenges you to look beyond your immediate four-year experience and think about planning for your future,” she says. “My involvement in extra-curricular activities, such as the Investment Group and Business Club, has been important in developing my professional career.”

Westre says that Whitworth staff, faculty and even President Beck Taylor were very supportive of her ambitions to attend graduate school. She says Duff Bergquist, visiting professor of economics and business, was particularly influential in introducing financial engineering to her. “As a math student, I was unsure of how to use my quantitative background and he provided that outlet.”

Internships are the most valuable way for students to gain professional experience and connections, Westre says. Hands-on experiences greatly increase a student’s exposure to potential career paths, which can be very helpful when graduates begin looking for work. She also highly recommends building relationships with professors. “They understand how to maneuver the academic, professional and social world outside of Whitworth,” she says. “They are your strongest advocates and best supporters. You are working hard to be at a university, so make sure you invest in yourself and your education.”