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Mentoring – a smart investment

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By Erik Furlan

(March 24, 2017 — Annapolis, Md.) Anna Dreyer, Ph.D., CFA, earned a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science, along with biomedical engineering. But it was her strong interest in business and finance that led her to a minor in economics, coursework at Sloan School of Management and, ultimately, to a position with T. Rowe Price.

“I graduated with the goal of dedicating my analytical background, pragmatisms and leadership skills to designing successful investment solutions and leading their implementation efforts,” Dreyer said. “I decided to work for T. Rowe Price to have the opportunity to apply my analytical skillset, to engage with internal and external stakeholders, and to lead.”

Fast-forward eight years and Dreyer is vice president of T. Rowe Price Group, as well as quantitative portfolio manager and quantitative analyst in the Asset Allocation division of T. Rowe Price. There, she performs market research to inform the design and management of multi-asset investment strategies.

“One of my significant professional accomplishments has been developing an investment strategy for mitigating risk,” Dreyer said. “I designed the strategy, successfully demonstrated the investment merits within my organization and to significant investors, and led a firm-wide implementation effort.” 

Each year, T. Rowe Price brings in four recently-graduated junior analysts for a two-year rotational fellowship. Dreyer is often chosen to supervise and mentor the analysts on topics from work-life balance to choosing the right career path.

“As someone who has benefitted from impactful mentorship in my education and career, I strive to give back by furthering the advancement of these young professionals,” Dreyer said. “I am humbled to have their trust in helping them to navigate important professional decisions.”  

Dreyer is passionate about mentorship and professional advancement programs like the ones T. Rowe Price uses. She believes it fosters a positive culture and work environment. She said individuals exposed to mentorship and guidance are more enthusiastic about their own career path and are more likely to serve as role models, passing their enthusiasm to others. Dreyer feels expanding the program to more college, graduate and even high school students is the next step for this successful training/mentorship model.

“Lifting others up in this way creates a positive feedback loop for the organization and for the industry,” Dreyer said.

Her passion for mentorship and advancement programs that led Dreyer to a leadership role on the advisory board of T. Rowe Price’s Women’s Roundtable. The roundtable launched in 2011 to help T. Rowe Price attract, develop, advance and retain talented women. Now in its seventh year, it has grown to have significant impact on T. Rowe Price’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

“We develop initiatives and programs that provide networking and development opportunities, drive recommendations in policy changes, and conduct a mentoring program for female associates,” Dreyer said.

As a leading woman in business, Dreyer is often in the position to give advice to those just starting their professional careers.

“The advice I give to younger people is to find a professional trajectory at the intersection of their aptitude, interests, and personal considerations or goals,” Dreyer said. She added, “Having mentorship and sponsorship support in the organization is vital, as well as volunteering to take on challenges and unfamiliar projects. Taking an active role is crucial."

“Early on, my supervisor gave me a piece of advice that I consider critical and often pass on to others: ‘Do not hesitate to voice your thoughts and ideas.  Someone thought that your ideas were good enough when they hired you, and you owe it to your organization to prove them right.’”