Acceleration into Financial Professional Program: My first two months

Starting a new job is tough. Starting a new job as a college graduate is even tougher. Moving from one coast to the other with nothing more than what you can fit into your car to start a new job right out of college is REALLY tough. I moved 2,700 miles from San Diego to Philadelphia to participate in Vanguard’s Acceleration into Financial Professional program and couldn’t be more proud of my decision.

My journey to Vanguard began as a community college transfer student at San Diego State University. I was passionate, excited, and inquisitive, but wasn’t sure how those characteristics would translate into a job. Rather than getting caught up in making every step a calculated one, I focused on doing what I knew I should. I attended the first career fair on campus and spoke to various firms. Vanguard’s booth was the one I was most excited to find. My conversation with the recruiters in attendance must have went well because the next morning, I was scheduled to interview for Vanguard’s College to Corporate internship in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Fast forward almost a year and I had just concluded a challenging, fun, insightful internship with Vanguard. During my ten week internship I fell in love with the financial services industry and Vanguard’s unique values so much so that I knew it was a company I wanted to begin a long career with. Fortunately, I was offered a position in the Acceleration into Financial Professional Program.

After two months as a program participant, I’d like to share what I appreciate about it and provide some additional insight into the program focusing on three themes: community, flexibility, and impact.

Community

Moving here wasn’t easy and it’s taken me a few months to truly feel settled. I’ve had to adjust to a new environment and develop a new routine. I’ve even had to come to terms with the following critically important facts; in Philadelphia, there are people that choose to eat pizza without cheese (Tomato Pie), subs are actually called “hoagies,” and saying anything bad about the Eagles is very much frowned upon. Adjusting to a new place is tough but working for a company that promotes and encourages a strong sense of community has made the transition much easier.

For example, Vanguard hosted a day in the city for our group on the Friday of our first week. That day we toured Reading Terminal Market (where I ate way too many samples), we did an escape room challenge and finished with lunch at Mission Taqueria. It was a great time for us to get to know each other and have fun outside of the confines of our cubicles. I had a blast.

Flexibility

The program has structure. You will complete four six-month rotations within various departments in Finance. You will participate in soft-skill and technical-skill trainings. You will have responsibilities and deliverables during your rotations. But beyond these, you will be heavily encouraged to drive your own unique experience. If you want to attend a Vanguard event discussing innovation and emerging trends in FinTech, you can. If you want to join a book club to build your investment acumen, you can. The leadership team acknowledges the value in developmental opportunities outside of your day-to-day responsibilities. I’ve fallen in love with this aspect of the program, as it fulfills my intellectual curiosity —and also opens doors to explore future opportunities.

Impact

For my first rotation, I was placed on the Financial Planning & Analysis team that supports the Institutional Investor Group. Our team provides business clients and senior management with strategic decision support, operational and capital planning, financial reporting, and performance measurement. In support of these functions, I’ve been able to explore fundamental analysis, process automation, forecasting techniques, and fund cash flow analysis.

From day one, the skillsets, knowledge, and drive I came to the program with have been valued by my colleagues and managers. I’ve been given projects that enable me to both showcase my strengths and also stretch my conceptual understanding of the business segments we support. Recently, the results from one of my projects helped improve a section of the insight we provide to our Finance and Institutional Investor Group leadership!

Joining a team I knew little about has been difficult. I still have a lot to learn. But knowing that the work I bring to the table is valued has made this rotation a rewarding experience. I’m new to the program and still relatively new to Vanguard and the Philadelphia area. However, after two months I am even more excited than when I began. I come to work every day with the confidence that I’ll be challenged, the peace of mind that I’ll be supported, and the excitement that I’ll have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions.

-Terrell V.

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The journey continues

With the free time to observe other departments combined with seeing how my team leader has helped me on my journey, I’ve figured out that I want to pursue either a financial advisor or leadership role. I’ve enjoyed seeing the way our leaders develop crew members through coaching and mentoring, and watching how our advisors add value to our clients’ lives by helping them accomplish their goals. It is my hope to continue to build even deeper and more meaningful relationships with my colleagues and our clients, as well as to further develop my skills in my career. Whether it be in leadership or as an advisor, I will continue to be a steward of Vanguard’s mission to take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success, all while fostering this same passion with the crew and clients I work with.

With Vanguard’s flexibility and support, I have full faith that I’ll be able to succeed and in a timely manner. As my journey continues, I’m excited to know I have Vanguard’s support and would encourage others to be unafraid of using all of the wonderful resources available to you. I know that I will be able to attain the career I want at Vanguard.

-Rod M.

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