After working as an engineer for over 12 years, I decided to completely change careers and pursue my MBA full time. Why? I wanted to do work that I was good at, and passionate about. The thought of making a major career pivot was exciting, complex and risky at the same time. Where could I combine my aspirations for general management with my passion for helping people with their personal finances? Is it possible to transfer the skills that I acquired as a manufacturing engineer, technical sales engineer, and product manager? Or would I have to start over? How would I get up to speed quickly enough to make a meaningful contribution?
To take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success.
This sounds a lot like my passion for people and their success with personal finance! And this mission is not just hearsay, it is the foundation for the work that gets done each day. For example, when I worked in the Institutional division, we were focused on helping plan participants achieve retirement success. When I worked in Enterprise Finance, we were focused on monitoring how well we were performing as a company for the benefit of our clients (fund performance, cost, client loyalty and risk management). Now I am working in Client Experience…I’m sure you get the point.
A supportive squad
There were 15 other professionals who joined the MBA Development program with me. Their academic and professional accomplishments have enriched my experience. This group has been my “speed dial” for many things like: learning the Vanguard organization, understanding various aspects of the financial services industry, and just getting connected and acclimated to a new working and living environment.
The additional benefit is that there are many cadres that have preceded us and they continue to make themselves available – sharing their insights to ensure that our experience is a success.
A quality offer
All leadership development programs are not created equal. These are some distinct elements of Vanguard’s approach to MBA development:
Program Qualifications – Vanguard looks for candidates with more pre-MBA work experience than most companies. This was very compelling for someone who worked for many years prior to business school. It was a signal to me that Vanguard values my past experience and provides opportunities for crew to transfer their skill sets.
Rotational Assignments – There is a lot of work that goes into matching participants and assignments at Vanguard. We are placed in departments that align our strengths, experiences, interests and even development opportunities, thus creating meaningful and unique on-the-job training.
Development (beyond the job) – The MBA Development program has created additional opportunities to enhance our professional development through: industry discussions, leader overviews, specialty workshops/trainings, assessments & feedback, MBA buddies, and corporate mentors.
There are other benefits to working at Vanguard (people & culture), but this is supposed to be a blog and not a book. In four days, I will celebrate my one year anniversary at Vanguard. As I reflect back on the excitement, complexity, and risk, one thing’s for sure – I would make the same choice all over again.
Check out this video to learn more about the MBA Development Program!
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, learn more about our MBA programs at www.vanguardjobs.com.
Exploring careers in Client Services – Retail Services
In this series, crew in our Retail Investment Group share their perspectives on career choices, teamwork, and how they contribute to Vanguard’s mission.
Retail Services, Retirement Specialist
David graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he studied management and sociology. He then completed a graduate program in business fundamentals at Wake Forest. Following his education, David followed his passion to serve others by working for the Hickory Public Housing Authority where he worked with low-income families to empower them towards self-sufficiency. After his time with the Hickory Public Housing Authority, it wasn’t long before David found himself at Vanguard – first taking on a role in Personal Investor as a Client Relationship Specialist, followed by his current role as a Retirement Specialist in the Retirement Center.
What is it like working in your department?
As a Retirement Specialist, I have the opportunity to educate and assist clients with one of the biggest moments in their life – retirement. Due to the complexity of the subject matter, I leverage my technical knowledge and CRM (client relationship management) skills, often taking ownership of unique client situations until resolution. In my role, there are two main areas of work: complex transactions and small business accounts.
What are the top skills needed to be successful in your role?
Intellectual curiosity, and attention to detail, but first and foremost, you need to have a desire to learn about the complexity of retirement. There are a lot of IRS and tax implications related to complex transactions, so I need to make sure I’m asking clients the right questions to understand their needs, and then adequately explain the options to guide them to an appropriate decision.
What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned during your time in your department?
In addition to the immense retirement knowledge that I have gained, I have learned the importance of approaching a situation in a holistic way, making sure to gain all the details to arrive at the best answer. In my role I’d come across complex client situations and taking the extra time to gather all relevant information before positioning solutions for the client proved to be well worth the time!
How does your current role fit into your career goals?
I recently accepted a new role as a Retirement Administrator where I will be responsible for supporting other specialists and service partners with highly technical issues. Each stage of my career contributes to the next, and I am confident my experiences as a Retirement Specialist will aid in my success in my new role.
How does your role contribute to Vanguard’s mission?
Clients want to make sure their assets will sustain them during retirement and the Retirement Center is crucial in helping them reach this goal. As an example, baby boomers who are entering retirement age are leaning on institutions like Vanguard, particularly the Retirement Center, for help in navigating their transition into retirement. The Retirement Center’s mission is Vanguard’s mission. We are taking a stand for all investors by providing excellent service and solutions on complex individual and small business retirement topics, equipping our clients with the tools and information for investment success!
Stay tuned for the next edition of our Client Services career conversations, featuring a new department each time.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our Client Services career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com!
As my family was traveling across the country from Michigan to our new home in Arizona, I couldn’t help but think what a big change we were undertaking. My wife, Christina, and our dog, Daisy, were relocating to Arizona in a move that could only be characterized as bold. All of our earthly possessions were crammed into a moving truck and we knew exactly two people in Arizona – a former client and a fellow Rotary Club member. We had both recently turned 40 and were starting to feel some wanderlust. I had been working in investments since my early 20’s and over the last couple of years I had developed a desire to do something different with my life and, not to sound cheesy, but to make a bigger difference.
Enter Vanguard into the picture. I became aware of the exciting things brewing in Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services by reading various financial periodicals and blogs. Having been a big fan personally and professionally of Vanguard and their approach, I was entranced with the possibility of being part of the new revolution Vanguard was starting in the advisory world.
The decision to leave my prior employer and the community where I grew up was a very hard one. I had been in that position for 10 years, was well established in the community, and had a great roster of clients — so there were a lot of factors to weigh. My wife was enthusiastic and her response to my suggestion of moving was, “Sure, let’s do it!” After joining, I would often talk about what a great place Vanguard is to work, so she decided to apply for a position in our operations department. She has really thrived at Vanguard and values our unique client-focused culture.
Looking back over the last 3 ½ years I can confidently say that this was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. The response and sheer growth of Personal Advisor Services has been mind-blowing and a great opportunity for me to truly make a difference in my clients’ lives. In my role as a Senior Financial Advisor, I work with clients every day and can see firsthand the impact that both Vanguard and I are making in their lives.
I tell clients my story and end with “I moved 2,000 miles across the country to work for Vanguard.” That’s how much I believe in what we do.
If you enjoyed this post, check out more from our #LifeatVanguard Blog. And if you’re ready for a more rewarding, engaging, meaningful career in advice, check out our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
An overview of the Financial Advisor Development Program
Like many college students, my senior year involved tackling my job search. As a finance major with a concentration in financial planning, it was important that I found a job in this industry, while also connecting with a company that would support my desire to pursue the CFP® certification. I wanted to work face-to-face with clients, as helping people was one of the main reasons that I chose a career in financial planning. Working for a company that valued their employees and cared about career progression was another necessity.
In the midst of my job search, a Vanguard representative attended one of Virginia Tech’s Financial Planning Association (FPA) Student Chapter Meetings and presented on a new program they were offering for financial planning students – the Financial Advisor Development Program (FADP). I learned that FADP was a two-year accelerated rotational program created for recent college graduates interested in pursuing a career as a financial advisor. I quickly found that FADP sounded like the job for me.
The first three months of the program are dedicated to achieving the proper licensing requirements, FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 licenses, with substantial support and resources provided by Vanguard. Not only did Vanguard provide support and resources to help me prepare for the CFP® exam, but they even paid me for the six weeks of studying leading up to the exam. I would receive the CFP® certification in two years (as opposed to the industry standard of three years) through the Apprenticeship Pathway experience exception.
This program gives participants a well-rounded education, mentor relationship and hands-on experiences before they start their career as a financial advisor. In addition, the overall environment I found at Vanguard assured me I had found everything I wanted in a company. Every person I met wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. When I got the call that I had been chosen for the program, I excitedly accepted.
Fast forward a few months to June, when I began my career with Vanguard as an FADP participant. I was glad for the opportunity to be around people who were going through the same experience of studying for the CFP® exam. I grew close to my coworkers very quickly and found that having their support was a key component to staying motivated. Together, we all benefitted from the support and guidance of both the FADP leadership team and our assigned mentors – experienced CFP® professionals. Starting a new position in a brand new program can be pretty overwhelming, and having so many friendly faces on your side is very beneficial.
With the testing phase behind me, I am currently in the program’s first rotation within Vanguard’s Business Development Group. In this role, we communicate with clients in hopes of bringing them to Vanguard. We will uncover clients’ needs and educate them on what Vanguard has to offer. During the second rotation, I’ll help Vanguard’s high net worth clients in Flagship Services, serving existing clients who work with a financial advisor at Vanguard and focusing on deepening my relationship management skills. The third and final rotation will take place in Vanguard’s Advice department, Personal Advisor Services (PAS), creating opportunities to learn Vanguard’s Advice methodology and demonstrating how our advice offer can help clients looking for guidance with their portfolio. I am excited to begin speaking with clients and helping them to get on the right track with their financial success. I am confident the knowledge and experiences I’ll gain from FADP will set me up for success as a financial advisor and I’m looking forward to all that is to come!
-Sara Beth W.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
I was a high school senior when I first heard of Vanguard. A work co-op program was offered to students in my school, and initially, I thought it would be a great opportunity for a part time job, and a first step into corporate America. But without corporate experience, I wasn’t sure what I could offer a company like Vanguard. I started by working with my business school teacher to prepare for the interview – I needed to quickly develop interview skills, use real life experiences and prepare to answer questions using a STAR method, which I wasn’t even familiar with. I never thought I would get hired at a company like Vanguard.
18 years later, I am still here.
During my time at Vanguard, I have held a variety of positions— in our Retail Investor Group, in our Institutional Investor Group, in Sales, and, most recently, in Marketing. To prepare myself for each new role, I kept personal development and business acumen at top of mind. For example, I came to Marketing Technology and Operations to see what services we offered to our clients across all business lines. By assisting leadership and marketing teams with email marketing efforts, I built a repository of contacts who helped me make decisions about where my next career move would be.
Leadership helped me develop a robust personal plan that gave me senior leadership exposure across the enterprise for high touch projects. Through constant 360 degree feedback, I sharpened the skills and competencies needed for the next level and demonstrated my ability to handle more complex deliverables, which led to a promotion.
Through mentoring, onsite training, and hands-on experiences, I have successfully developed priceless skills to help me influence, persuade, and negotiate with internal and external clients across the organization. I have forged lasting bonds with crew that I continue to work with in many different capacities.
I am proof growing up Vanguard works.
I continue to look forward to the future as I work in what is now a global company. Vanguard has stayed loyal and committed to my growth as I have stayed committed and loyal to Vanguard’s mission.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
It’s not why we came to Vanguard, but why we’ve stayed
It’s our senior year at San Diego State University and Gonzaga University. With the excitement of graduation approaching and the prospect of a new career in Finance, we couldn’t wait to start the next chapter of our lives as working professionals.
From the moment we stepped onto Vanguard’s campus, we knew that we had made the right choice! In Corporate Orientation, several of the leaders mentioned the possibilities for further involvement within the company. After completing the onboarding program, we realized Vanguard was everything we had hoped it would be and more. Our new team leaders took the time to get to know us as individuals, coached and developed us, and helped us navigate through our first year at Vanguard in Retail Services.
After getting involved in Vanguard’s Crew Resource Groups (CRGs), community service campaigns, and coaching and developing the future talent of Vanguard, we knew it was time to step into our first leadership role. When we began expressing interest in people leadership, our mentors, peers, and leaders were more than supportive. They offered even more informal leadership opportunities, allowing us to strengthen our coaching mindset and access an even greater network of leaders to learn from. We each met with leaders within Personal Investor and knew we would be able to bloom within this department as we led crew through their own personal Vanguard journeys.
After we became leaders in Personal Investor within the Retail Investor Group, the development didn’t stop there. Each leader in the department shared their best practices with us, we always had someone to bounce ideas off of and our suggestions were always welcomed. Most recently, Vanguard flew us out to Philadelphia for a Leadership Symposium. We had the opportunity to hear from our current and future CEO, along with many other inspirational speakers. We came back energized and grateful for the investment Vanguard makes in leaders and crew.
Today we have 11 crew starting their first official day in Personal Investor and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of their journey. Standing by as they talk to their first clients, we can’t help but smile knowing they made the right choice to get on board!
-Amberlee P. and Nicole P., both Team Leaders in Personal Investor