Our thanks to alumnus Shawn Peterson, who took a little time to give us an update on what he is doing with his degree. It's always great to catch up with our recent alumni.
Shawn Peterson, '15, business economics
I graduated from UW-Eau Claire in May 2015 with a double major in Economics and Finance. While at UWEC I had three internships: Northwestern Mutual as a Financial Representative, MMX Management as an Alternatives Investment Analyst and Orgel Wealth Management. Following graduation, I started working as an analyst at DGV Solutions LP, an institutional investment management company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. DGV provides customized option trading strategies for institutional investors as well as managing private funds.
Being a small shop, my role encompasses various tasks. Some of my major roles are:
- Research: Generate, test, analyze and present potential new product offerings or strategy enhancements to upper management.
- Accounting: Oversee internal fund accounting.
- Investor Presentations: Prepare data, graphs and charts to be used in investor presentations.
- Performance Tracking: Calculate and track performance and accompanying performance attributes for our funds as well as our competitors.
- Operations: Make sure all trades are settled and cleared into the proper accounts.
Being an economics major is as much about learning how to think as it is about learning the various theories and underlying material. The great thing about economics is you can't just memorize the material and get A's, you need to justify and explain your answers; and to do this requires critical thinking, comprehension, understanding, and effective communication. When you hone these skills you eventually start applying them to other aspects of your life and when you can do that, you start to see economics true power. Combining economics thinking with concepts from finance or biology or psychology or whatever allows you to develop multi-disciplinary concepts, which can really set you apart (in a good way!) Just like being different makes you stand out, thinking different also allows you to stand out. The professors at UWEC were great at teaching me how to take my thoughts from the logical first step to the following secondary and tertiary levels. Much of my success and best ideas can directly be tied back to how I learned to think and process the world as an economics major at UWEC.
Outside of the solely educational realms, the UWEC Economics department also has a strong emphasis on practical learning. Professors are great about making time to talk to students and to act as mentors for research projects. By taking advantage of these opportunities and participating in faculty-student research, I was able to distinguish myself from other recent graduates. Not many undergraduates are able to participate in research, UWEC is truly unique in how much emphasis they put on undergraduate research. Not only are undergraduates allowed to participate, but they are able to take integral roles in the research projects. By focusing on hands on learning, UWEC's economics students are way ahead of many of their peers and more prepared for their careers.
From running multivariate regressions to applying basic econ 103 theories, not a day has passed that I have not applied something I learned as an economics major in my current job. To me, that alone makes the time and money spent at UWEC well worth it and is a true testament to the quality of education offered at UWEC.