A Wealth of Experience

Arianne Pagsisihan’s 2002 summer internship earned her the quintessential Seattle experience – visiting coffeehouses, dodging raindrops, and working for Bill Gates.

Only Arianne’s internship wasn’t spent at Microsoft programming the latest software innovation or developing the next Windows operating system. Instead, this Scripps senior worked for the world’s richest man in another important role – as an intern for the company that manages Bill Gates’ personal fortune.

Arianne’s internship with Bill Gates’ personal money management company marked her first time living a considerable distance from home. It also gave the 21- year-old from Tujunga, California, a firsthand look at a career she’s interested in pursuing after graduation this May.

“I would really like to work in the field of investment management,” says Arianne, an economics major with a minor in studio art. “The experience working with Bill Gates’ money managers affirmed my desire to pursue a career in investment management.”

Arianne stumbled upon the internship opportunity last spring while attending an event sponsored by the Claremont McKenna College Student Investment Fund. Arianne, then president of the Scripps Student Investment Fund (SSIF), was invited along with her entire group to attend the dinner, where Gates’ money managers were speaking.

“During the course of the dinner, they asked me how SSIF’s portfolio was doing,” Arianne says. “I guess my answer impressed them because, afterwards, the speakers approached me and asked me to apply for an internship with their company.”

As part of her answer, Arianne explained that SSIF had trimmed their tech-heavy portfolio to invest in such companies as GE, Ballard Power Systems, and Electronic Arts. She also mentioned her idea of purchasing shares in Spanish broadcasting firms, because the increasing demographic of Spanish speakers in Los Angeles has prompted a growth in the Spanish media sector.

“We were impressed with the fact that Arianne had a very good grasp about the companies the SSIF had invested in,” says Robert Thomas, who was Arianne’s supervisor during her internship. “She had some creative investment suggestions, as well as great confidence and excitement about the student fund’s investment plans.”

During her internship, Arianne worked with the fixed-income trading desk as a research intern. For her project, she put together a report on consumer spending trends from the early 90s through 2002. In addition to her main project, she also helped update Excel spreadsheets for the department’s weekly meetings, which she also attended.

At the end of her internship, she presented the findings in her report to the group at large.

“I learned so much from this internship,” Arianne says. “It taught me about project management and how to get through a large project. I learned how to break things down so they don’t seem so large-which has been a great help to me in producing my senior thesis. I also learned about time management and working in a fast-paced environment.”

While Arianne is still interviewing for a full-time job after graduation, she’s hoping to find an opportunity working with an investment management company closer to her native Los Angeles.

“I would highly recommend this internship to others,” Arianne says. “Because it is a small firm, I got more hands-on work experience, something you don’t get when interning for larger firms. Also, what better place to get an experience working in investment management than to work with the company that manages the wealth of the richest man in the world?”