As a student, I always wondered what it’d be like to transition into the real-world. More specifically for me, into the corporate world.
To help bridge the gap from education to employment, my university offers 6-month co-ops – an opportunity to work full time and receive college credit alternating with periods of classroom study. Entering my junior year at college, I knew it was time to pick a company where I could learn new skills and how to make that big transition. But, which company should I choose? Was a small company or large corporation a better fit? Which industry was right for me? So many questions were running through my mind. After some research, I found Vanguard had a position I was interested in. I worked hard on my application and earned an interview. I vividly remember driving to my interview and wondering if I would fit in and what working at Vanguard would be like.
Interviewing & interning
From the moment I walked in the door, I was met with a warm reception. I remember my interview like it was yesterday–I told my interviewer that I was interested in personal growth, professional development, and purpose. We had a great conversation about my goals and Vanguard’s mission. To this day, we still keep in touch and discuss what’s going on in our lives – both professionally and personally. My relationship with her was instrumental in navigating through my co-op at Vanguard and one of the main reasons I chose to accept a position at Vanguard after graduation!
During my co-op, I worked in Institutional Marketing and Communications. My manager was excellent. He connected me with so many crew members, many of whom became trusted advisors who I still consult before big decisions. These mentors have helped me strategize ways to turn my weaknesses into strengths, challenged me to look through a long-term lens when making decisions, and ultimately pushed me to apply for one of Vanguard’s Leadership Development Programs.
Why it mattered
My 6 month co-op came to a close, and as I returned to Drexel for my senior year, I kept in contact with many crew members. The following summer, I returned to Vanguard as an intern with Vanguard Charitable to support a busy giving season. In such a close-knit environment, coupled with the holiday spirit, I developed friendships across the organization. Because of those close relationships, I agreed to return part-time to a role in Research & Strategy. I continue to catch-up with my old team whenever our schedules allow.
As I was entering my last semester at Drexel, I shared my excitement at my college graduation on LinkedIn and thanked those that helped me cross the finish line. Little did I know, the reach would be in the thousands. Hundreds of crew members liked and commented, welcoming me into the company. The fact that crew members who I never met before were so enthusiastic and accepting was humbling. It reassured me that I found a company with a sense of community and family.
The little things count
Another uplifting moment happened while I was struggling to find a conference room. It was the end of the day and most of the office had already headed home. I clearly looked lost, reading every sign to find the meeting location. A woman rushing to catch an elevator paused and asked, “Looking for a room?” I nodded, a little embarrassed, and told her the room number. Instead of just pointing me in the right direction, she took the time to personally walk me to the room. This may seem like a small thing, but to someone who is new, it can mean the world when someone shows a little kindness.
A few months later, I came aboard as a full-time employee. When I came back to the Malvern campus, previous co-workers and managers were excited to connect and hear my updates. That reassured me that our relationships were not static–they were active and lively. And since my start date, I’ve connected with so many people across divisions and in various positions.
Coming out of college, there is a sense of angst and wonder around the corporate environment. But my fears disappeared once I came to Vanguard. From my first face-to-face interaction with crew to launching my career here, I have cultivated and deepened so many valuable relationships.
If you enjoyed this post, check out more from our #LifeatVanguard Blog. And if you’re ready for a more rewarding, engaging, meaningful career, check out our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.