Managed Portfolios

Michael Grover

Hometown: Wheaton, IL

Alma Mater: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Major: Finance; Business Process Management and Marketing

Current Role: Managed Portfolios – Technical Operations (Chicago)

When did you start the MDP program and what was your role?  

I started as an MDP in July 2014 and my first role was as a Client Support Representative (CSR) on the Managed Portfolios Support Team. 

What was your next position? What led you to this role?  

I followed a bit of a different path than other MDPs and chose to stay on my team and take on additional responsibilities. My second role was as a Training Specialist for the Managed Portoflios Support Team where I created a new hire training program and trained all of the MDPs that started on or moved onto our team. This added experience eventually led me to be a Senior CSR on the team. 

What is a typical day in your current role? 

 I am currently in transition to a new technology-based role in Managed Portfolios. Day-to-day, I work with our Technical Operations team to define their technical work, manage priorities, and communicate issue resolution and enhancement work to our stakeholders. I also help manage longer-term projects for the team such as disaster recovery efforts and incident management/system monitoring efforts. 

Did you participate in any stretch projects or ERGs?  

I participated in a stretch project with Talent & Culture. I helped the former head of Learning and Development redesign an earlier iteration of the Learning section on The Pond. I also helped create the template for submitting stretch project requests that is currently used today. 

What advice would you give your first-year self?  

The most important way to get the most out of the MDP and Morningstar in general is to take advantage of all of the opportunities available to you. Participate in trainings and development opportunities. Spend your educational stipend every year to expand your knowledge and skill set in areas you won’t develop in your day-to-day responsibilities. Finally, don’t worry about following a “standard” MDP path when changing roles. Everybody has a different path through the program and through their career, so jump at opportunities that excite you and try new things! 

 What is your favorite Netflix binge? 

I love bingeing a bad CW show on Netflix! Gossip Girl will always remain one of my favorites. 

Mike Stathakis

Hometown: Barrington, IL

Alma Mater: University of Michigan

Major: Economics; Statistics Minor

Current Role: Associate Investment Analyst (Chicago)

When did you start the MDP program and what was your role?

I started the MDP program back in July 2016 and began as a Customer Support Representative on the Enterprise Support Team. It was my job to assist users of Morningstar Advisor Workstation by answering any questions the users had. These could range from ‘how can I create a new portfolio’ to ‘can you please help me understand Morningstar’s style box methodology.’

What was your next position? What led you to this role?

My next role was on the Direct Customer Succes Manager Team. In this role, I worked as a consultant for our institutional software platform, Morningstar Direct. I was given a regional book of business in CT, NYC and NJ, covering asset managers such as Prudential, Voya, and TD Ameritrade. The role entailed some support skills, a little bit of sales, and a little bit of consulting. It was a great way for me to learn the asset management industry quickly and get to know different types of clients first-hand. I was originally attracted to the role because of the traveling aspect (I was able to fly out east a few times a quarter), and the unique opportunity to build both interpersonal and quantitative skills at the same time.

What is a typical day in your current role?

I now work as an Associate Investment Analyst in our Investment Management division. My day-to-day responsibilities vary, but mainly revolve around supporting our Portfolio Managers (PMs), manager research, and asset class research work. Supporting PMs can range from simple performance reporting to gathering information to help our Portfolio Managers make informed investment decisions. For manager research, I attend fund manager meetings when Portfolio Managers from other asset management firms come to visit, and bring any recommendations from those meetings to my team. Finally, the asset class research work is more ad hoc and entails fundamental research on a particular asset class. I am currently on the Fixed-Income asset class team, so I spend my time researching fixed income investment opportunities.

Did you participate in any stretch projects or ERGs?

Yes, I was a part of our Investment Management Research and Apprenticeship program (IMRAP) back in 2017, and was put on a stretch project with our Asset Allocation and Capital Markets team in the group I currently work with. It was a great opportunity to see what a role is like before actually jumping into it.

What advice would you give your first-year self?

Keep a positive attitude and volunteer for as much work as you can; essentially, get involved. There were a few times where I was doing something I thought to be trivial and not worthy of my time, but ended up unexpectedly opening doors to help me attain the job I have today.

What is your favorite place in Chicago?

I love Chicago, so this is a tough one for me, but I have to go with the Fireplace Inn in Old Town. Great place to watch NFL Sundays and other sports events, grab a bite to eat, or bring a large group out on a Friday/Saturday. Their Thursday night special lemonade/iced tea deal is a steal.