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Mairs & Power Establishes New Scholarship

Friday, October 13, 2023

By Wade Rupard

New undergraduate scholarship aims to fill the gaps.


For decades, there has been a lack of diversity throughout the finance and accounting sectors. Still today, the financial planning industry remains about 83% white and 76% male, according to the Certified Financial Planner Board. A new undergraduate scholarship at the Carlson School is the latest effort aiming to close that gap.

Mairs & Power, a St. Paul–based investment advisory firm, established the scholarship this year to support those working toward finance and accounting degrees, with a preference toward women and students of color. It builds on a similar scholarship already offered for MBA students.

“We value diversity and we recruit for that,” says Mark Henneman, ’90 MBA, chairman and CEO of the 91-year-old firm. “But when we look around, historically, there has been a lack of diverse candidates. Our hope is that this scholarship can raise awareness of Mairs & Power, as well as the investment industry in general.”

Henneman, who came to Mairs & Power in 2004 from U.S. Bancorp, points to a common experience for those who desperately want to make change, knowing women add valuable perspectives to investing.

“We wanted to get more female representation on our investment committee,” he explains. “But there were so few women in finance. If we had an opening, 50 people would apply and only one would be a woman. So, it was a frustrating experience initially to begin making our team more diverse.”

Chief Operating Officer Melissa Gilbertson became a firm shareholder in 2015. The next year, Mairs & Power hired its first female investment professional, Michelle Warren, who is now vice president and investment manager.

To support these younger and more diverse candidates, Mairs & Power established the Equity Research Associate Program. The two-year program is targeted at graduating college seniors wherein those selected will support investment managers in their research efforts. The goal, says Wendy Lee, an equity analyst who leads the program, is to identify and train for future hiring needs and create an avenue for people from underrepresented backgrounds to get crucial exposure to the investment industry.

“We have found that it can be hard to get into this industry unless you learn more about it, you know people in it, or you have strong experience,” Lee says. “So this is our way of opening that door a little wider.”

As a Carlson School graduate himself, Henneman sees how those from the school can benefit Mairs & Power and the industry at large. 

“The Carlson School is a great school and we want its students to be curious, incredibly smart, and focused,” he says. “We’re excited to support them in their journey to hopefully joining the investment community.”

Fall 2023 alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Fall 2023 alumni magazine

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