Everyone remembers their first mentor, the person who took you under their wing and showed you the ropes of your new company. Mentors offer sage advice to help make the transition to seasoned employees easier. However, mentorship isn’t a one-way street. Both mentee and mentor can reap many benefits from this symbiotic relationship.
Doing meaningful work that is connected to personal and professional development is important and often a major building block to reaching your full potential, according to Forbes.com. Mentoring, which fosters personal connections and open communication, helps create a culture of collaboration and innovation, which is crucial in today’s business environment.
Mentorship programs often can be more meaningful than job training because they also build corporate societies and encourage a growth mindset. Mentees feel more linked to their companies. They have a voice to speak up with leadership and are more engaged.
Mentorship embodies the concept that if one person succeeds, we all achieve.
“We understand how important having hands-on support for our entry-level hires is,” says Lauren McCormack, PEAK6 Capital Management’s Campus Program Manager. “Having support and accountability sets new hires up for success. It’s all about investing in our people because we care about each of them and want everyone to succeed.”
PEAK6 Capital Management offers a formalized mentorship program for entry-level trading associates and software engineers, as well as several internships, including the Software Engineering Experience for Women, the Trading Experience for Women, and our Women in Tech Alliance mentoring program.
Acquiring skills and more
What would be better than getting the fast-track information on how things are done in your new company, particularly if it’s your first? Or having the chance to test out a field before you commit to it? PEAK6 provides the coaching and professional development necessary for career planning, goal enhancement, and networking through its internship and mentoring programs.
Women, in particular, benefit from mentorship. Women who are mentored feel more supported and seem to learn better in the company of women, particularly in technology, where women occupy less than 25% of the workforce.
“The Software Engineering Experience for Women and the Trading Experience for Women provide an environment where women feel welcome and comfortable exploring the fintech industry either as a developer or a trader,” says McCormack. “The ultimate goal is showing interns what fintech is at PEAK6. We also aim to convert our interns into full-time employees.”
Trading Experience interns get to dive into equity options and financial markets. Software Engineering interns have full ownership of a project by owning it from beginning to end and putting it into production. Each intern has a dedicated mentor throughout the program.
“Having a mentor is a huge selling point for interns when they are deciding whether or not to join our program,” says McCormack. “It’s continually one of the top reasons why they love our program so much. It’s one of the most impactful things we do.”
Just ask Wake Forest University senior Abby Merk, who was a part of PEAK6’s Trading Experience for Women last summer.
“Being mentored enhances the internship because it allows you to make connections and get your questions answered,” Merk says. “You are immersing yourself in PEAK6 education and culture. It gives you an accurate representation of the trading world.”
Throughout her nine weeks with the program, Merk had three mentors who offered particular insights and outreach. A group session instructor met with the interns every day. She also had a personal mentor who shared higher-level advice and a project mentor who helped with overall project organization and various trading needs, like coding or pulling data.
“At every point during the internship, I knew where I stood. I knew what I had to work on, what I was doing well with, what we were doing both that day and a week from now, and what I should be doing individually,” says Merk. “As females, we do not have the same exposure to the finance world as men do. It’s extremely refreshing to be working for a company with a progressive mindset that allows my ideas as a woman to be heard.”
Gaining new perspectives
Not all the benefits of mentorship are heaped just on the mentees. Mentors also find participating in these programs brings a lot of professional and personal satisfaction.
Being a mentor validates your leadership skills and can help you gain new perspectives as you cultivate your dialogue with your mentee. It’s also incredibly fulfilling to provide guidance, sharing your knowledge and experience with someone just starting out in the industry.
“Part of creating a welcoming work environment is getting employees involved and having people who want to raise up the next generation of the workforce,” McCormack says.
What does being a mentor entail? How involved do they really get?
According to McCormack, voicing an interest or being hand-selected by the internship program or business lead are two ways to get involved. Mentors make sure new hires have the help they need, whether it is technical setup or pointing them in the right direction. They also introduce mentees to other team members and look out for them.
“We provide mentorship training and guidelines so mentors have some north star to follow, especially if it’s their first time,” McCormack says. “They learn first-hand how to help someone grow technically or professionally as they work side by side. Employees also get to be a part of providing awesome experiences for interns, which impacts and brings the firm forward.”
PEAK6 Capital Management Junior Trader Anne Marie Stifter knows the ins and outs of both sides of the program, having gone through it herself. She now volunteers as a mentor.
“Starting a new job, especially during a pandemic, can be difficult and intimidating, so having a mentor can help that initial transition go smoothly,” Stifter says. “I’m approaching my new role as a mentor by emulating a lot of what my mentors taught me. I’m thankful I have people to turn to when I need help, and I hope to do the same for my mentee.”
Check out ways you can expand your knowledge base and networking opportunities. Apply now for our PEAK6 summer internships.