Opinion: McKinley Management internship program offers unique experience, learning opportunities

Hands-on learning experiences are often an integral part of a student’s educational journey.

  • By Kenneth P. Lenhart
  • Thursday, September 23, 2021 10:14am
  • Opinion

By Kenneth P. Lenhart

Internships and other hands-on learning experiences are often an integral part of a student’s educational journey but, at times, finding and securing quality opportunities can be intimidating. Although Alaska students and recent graduates might assume they would need to seek career experience for industries like finance and research outside of the state, they can actually find these opportunities right here at home. As Alaska’s world-class investment, research, consulting and advisory firm, McKinley Management LLC is proud to provide Alaska’s students and new graduates with valuable, hands-on experience through our internship programs.

Through strategic partnerships with Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, Sealaska Corporation and the University of Alaska Anchorage, McKinley offers three internship programs. As interns, students, and recent graduates work with one or more of McKinley’s businesses: McKinley Alaska Private Investment LLC; McKinley Capital Management LLC; and McKinley Research Group LLC. These partnerships and the collaboration with fellow Alaska organizations, play a valuable role in providing opportunities for the state’s future workforce.

At McKinley, we believe internships are an important foundation for students’ professional development, as well as being valuable for the development of our team and our company. That is why we designed our internships to involve students in a wide variety of projects, providing them with hands-on, real-world career experience in their home state. Many of the interns currently on staff are lifelong Alaskans and have expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work on a wide breadth of projects that expand their capabilities and make a real contribution to overall firm success.

McKinley interns work on a variety of projects including the collection, cleansing and analysis of equity trade data; collaborating with our data science team on alternative data sources and interactive dashboard development; populating internal databases with publicly available investment information; and conducting research and analysis for the McKinley Alaska Private Investment team. Interns also assist with an array of research projects including economic and environmental reports for McKinley Research Group. These experiences open doors for career opportunities and help students and new graduates build important and marketable skills. Plus, the students get a first look at life in their field of interest.

We also realize the benefit of our internship program to build the future business leaders of Alaska. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2020 Internship and Co-op Survey Report, internship outcomes reflected a 68% offer rate, an 82% acceptance rate and a 56% conversion rate. The report also found that the one-year retention rate for interns with internal experience is 69% while the retention rate for interns with external internship experience is 55%. Additionally, the report stated that interns spend more than half of their time on project management and analytical and problem-solving tasks, further confirming that internship experience is invaluable to both young professionals and employers.

Not only do our internship programs offer valuable experiences for students and new graduates, they also offer students the opportunity to participate in new, innovative technologies and projects. Our academic partnership with the University of Alaska’s Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab focuses on the use of data science and AI in finance. University students interning through this partnership gain experience in the application of AI and machine-learning tools to solve real-world problems that arise in financial markets. This partnership is exciting and innovative, investing in Alaska’s youth and providing students with a local environment where they can apply their talents and further develop their skills.

We understand the right internship can place a person on the pathway to success, which is why our programs offer students and recent graduates the opportunity to put their education into practice and further explore the investment and research industries. Internships are mutually beneficial, bringing fresh perspectives to McKinley, and are an investment in Alaska’s future workforce. McKinley is dedicated to making career opportunities more accessible to all, widening the circle of opportunity for young Alaskans far beyond a single summer or semester. We are proud to provide a rewarding path for those interested in pursuing a career in the investment and research industries while living and working in Alaska.

• Kenneth P. Lenhart is chief operating officer for McKinley Management LLC. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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