Externship Spotlight – AXA Advisors

PDC Staff Student Stories

Over Winter Break more than 100 Eller students participated in Externships in the form of one-day job shadows.

Sarah Boice (right) with Alison Althof.

Alison Althof from AXA with Sarah Boice.

Sarah Boice (Finance) shadowed Alison Althof, a Financial Consultant for the Retirement Benefits Group at AXA Advisors in Scottsdale, AZ.

Why did you want to do this externship?

I chose this externship because I am extremely interested in Financial Advising.  When researching AXA, I found that they worked highly with teachers, who I love working with being a dance teacher myself.  I loved their values I read in their mission statement and overall felt like they were a good fit for me.

What did you do during this job shadow experience?

During my job shadow, we spent the first few hours in the office learning how they explain their 403b retirement programs to first-year teachers. They went through how most teachers incorporate the 457 program as well that helps them pay for their student loans as well.  Then, Alison and Beau, who also had someone job shadowing from Eller,  showed us how Asset Maps work, showing us real-world cases that they personally worked on with clients to help them secure their finances, whether be putting more into life insurance, taking money out from an old pension fund and putting it towards other assets the family has, etc.

After “learning the ropes”, Alison and I actually traveled to two different schools and met with two teachers to talk about the plans we learned about at the beginning of the day.  Alison is assigned to the Washington Elementary District in Phoenix where she travels out and visits at least 4 of the 30+ schools per day; she is rarely sits at the office all day.

What did you learn as a result of the externship?

I learned quite a lot from this one- day job shadowing:

  1. Financial Advisors really love to help people.
  2. The job requires not only financial skills, but sales/people skills as well.
  3. They generally do not spend all day in the office, they are out in the field helping people.
  4. Asset allocating on asset maps can be difficult, but really makes a difference for your clients if done correctly.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with AXA, so much so that I am now a part of their AXANext program, an extended externship that could potentially lead me to an internship or even a full-time job.

Photo courtesy Alison Althof.