Working with Junior Achievement, Mike Mansfield '15 taught financial awareness to a class of high school students.

Business Student Teaches Financial Awareness

Mike Mansfield ’15 walked into Putnam High School with a feeling of uncertainty.

In the U.S. Army Infantry, he had instructed a group of enlisted men and women on his company’s standard operating procedures, but he had never introduced terms like “equity” and “revenue” to a classroom of teenagers. Mike met with a group of Junior Achievement volunteers who partnered him with Allen Stearey, a financial advisor with 25 years of experience and a combat veteran. That had to be a good sign.

Working through Junior Achievement, Mike and Allen spent the day engaging students at Putnam High School in financial awareness. Breaking the day into four sessions, Mike and Allen identified the students’ values, skill sets, and interests by mapping out their strengths and weaknesses. They spoke about personal finance, addressing the pitfalls of credit cards and poorly planned budgets.

Their biggest challenge came in giving examples to which the students could relate.

“A student asked why prices in the market fluctuate. After explaining how an increase or decrease in demand for a song by a famous hip-hop artist can increase or decrease the price of his or her product, the students saw how powerful a tool like supply and demand was for understanding the underlying cause of swings in the marketplace,” Mike said.

Mike appreciates Junior Achievement’s mission to develop well-rounded, morally responsible youth through financial literacy programs.

“JA’s mission statement is genuine and spirited, and that’s why I love it,” Mike said. “It is filled with self-encouragement, a dedication to improving financial awareness, and a clear picture for how to instill these precious teachings.”

A health care management major from Pembroke, Massachusetts, Mike’s involvement with JA came from a class assignment from accounting professor Amanda Huston. Mike hopes to one day work in the Department of Veteran Affairs as a health care manager.