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February 4, 2021

It might seem backwards for a parent to phone their child at college to ask for financial advice and retirement recommendations, but for Emma Rainard’s family it’s a two-way conversation. The senior business administration major is helping her folks build a stronger retirement portfolio, while bolstering her own professional finance experience.

With multiple internships under her belt and just one semester left before graduation, Rainard ’21 is putting her knowledge and skills together through the practical — and pretty personal — project. “It’s great because they are about five to ten years out from retirement,” she explains. “I want to be sure they are really well set up for it.”

With an end goal in sight, her mom regularly calls with questions about different strategies to allocate and grow their portfolio. In addition to managing their retirement funds, Rainard also guided her parents through a mortgage refinance that allows them to take advantage of lower interest rates.  

A wealth management internship with Burlington-based Harm & Harm Financial Consulting Group last fall provided Rainard a deeper understanding of various financial planning tactics that she could directly apply to the real-life portfolio she manages for her parents. Her supervisor, John Harm, guided her through the four cornerstones of wealth management — investing, assets and liability, risk and legacy — and assigned weekly articles and case studies involving financial planning that they would later discuss.

“He was so approachable and provided a lot of academic insight into the industry,” she says. “Through this internship, I learned how important taking care of a clients’ future life goals and ensuring confidence in family financial stability is in this field.”

The internship was just one of several Rainard has completed throughout her studies, each allowing her to further develop a focus area in finance postgraduation. She’s getting closer to narrowing it down and hopes to do good for others by pairing her business administration studies with a community and international development economics minor. A Dewey-Civic Engagement Scholar, member of the ENACTUS club for advancing human progress through entrepreneurship and president of the Women in Business Club, Rainard embodies leadership, community and collaboration for social justice.

She credits a first-year course with Professor William Cats-Baril as solidifying her interest in finance. “Stocks really clicked in his class, and I enjoy portfolio and company research. Ever since, that’s where my head has been at.” Rainard went on to take the Green Mountain Investment Fund Class, which allows students to operate an investment fund in real-time with access to powerful financial analysis products, like Holt, used by industry leaders. “It’s great to get ahold of these different resources and get hands-on work experiences with tools we might be using in our future jobs,” she says.

In the months ahead of graduation, Rainard is actively pursuing a future in the Boston area with a few friends and colleagues from the Women in Business Club. The housing and job hunt are already in full swing for the soon-to-be grad and her friends. “It’s really nice to be around like-minded individuals. We talk openly about challenges and help each other navigate our career paths. We push each other to try new opportunities,” she says.

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