Vanguard Grace Hopper experience

Meeting Vanguard at the Grace Hopper conference

It was a Monday evening, unbearably warm and sticky, as Philadelphia tends to be in September. I was at field hockey practice and, coincidently, received a call just as I was checking my phone during a water break. It was the call I had been waiting for: I GOT IT. I got the Vanguard College to Corporate (C2C) IT internship.

The C2C IT Internship checked all of my boxes: mentoring, cutting-edge tech, AND close to home. But it was only September; the summer had just ended, and next summer seemed so far away. The Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing was approaching and I had been instructed by faculty at my school, “don’t accept ANY internship offers until after the conference.”

Vanguard Grace Hopper experience

The day that the conference finally came, I woke up very early. My solo journey included a flight delay, gate change, lengthy taxi ride, and an even lengthier trek, in not so comfy shoes, from the lobby of my hotel across the skywalk and through the Orange County Convention Center. I decided my first stop would be the Vanguard booth. After some wandering up and down the long aisles of the massive room, I found it. I spotted Lynn C., a Vanguard rep from my interview day, who greeted me with a big smile and a warm hug. Believe me, I really needed that hug. She asked me my t-shirt size and showed me all the new “swag” they had gotten for the conference. I stood around chatting with crew in Vanguard’s Technology Leadership Program about my flight and where I was staying. They invited me to dinner the following night before I went on my own to explore.

Many of the other companies at the conference had displays that were massive and showy. I waited in a few lines, padfolio in hand filled with fresh print outs of my resume. I fielded questions about Java classes and my previous internship, and along the way collected some rather over-the-top giveaways. By late afternoon, my mind was made up. I had already attended numerous talks by Vanguard representatives at my school, in addition to two Explore IT Days at their headquarters. I had spoken with multiple recruiters on the phone, and spent the day on campus interviewing. I knew the company’s core purpose, and I knew about their strong emphasis on crew. But hearing about it and feeling it are two completely different things. At many of the other companies I felt like a number holding a list of my accomplishments and capabilities. But Vanguard cared about me, a person. After only a few hours at the conference, I accepted my offer with Vanguard.

Vanguard Grace Hopper experience

I spent my summer internship in Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services. When I met my manager, Judy, she told me I would be a part of Team Unicorn. She assured me that I would come to understand the name after getting to know its members and seeing their work ethic. Lucky for me, I was included in their project and was able to participate in daily ideation, planning, and working sessions. Right away I found myself writing code that will soon go into production, and participated in a biweekly book club and in the teams monthly “game day” during lunch. A mantra of Team Unicorn is “work hard, play hard,” as each team member places high value on maintaining positive interactions with each other. Now that I had my internship, with work that was engaging and a friendly, supportive team, I feel so strongly that I made the right decision at the Grace Hopper Conference last year.

-Stephanie M.

If you enjoyed this post and want to learn more, visit us at this year’s Grace Hopper Conference! And if you’re ready for a more rewarding, engaging, meaningful career, search our opportunities at

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