Crew & A: Commonly asked questions about interning at Vanguard
Kate, a prospective intern for Vanguard, had the opportunity to ask current interns a few questions. Follow along below to read about their experiences over the summer.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received at Vanguard?
A: During the past 8 weeks here crew (aka employees – everything is nautical themed here!) across the entire firm have been willing and available to offer insight to me as an intern. After several interactions and meetings, there was one piece of advice that stood out the most. My team had just been leaving a meeting where I was looking to participate but failed to seize the opportunity to do so. My manager pulled me aside to talk about it. While he knew I was disappointed that I did not get to offer my two cents, and he offered me this advice, “It’s not always about whether you say something, but whether what you say is relevant and meaningful to a conversation.” In hindsight, what I was planning on saying would have sent the conversation on an unproductive tangent. Internalizing this concept, I have been able to adapt and position myself to contribute in meetings more meaningfully.
Q: What was your favorite intern event?
A: My favorite intern event was our volunteer day off (VTO day). Vanguard gives its crew one paid day per calendar year to dedicate to community service through volunteer work. Crew members can volunteer with any charitable agency they choose, however, the intern cadre all did ours together. We went into Philadelphia to volunteer with the Share Food Program – a nonprofit organization specializing in food distribution, education, and advocacy. It was a very fun and rewarding day spent with fellow interns and intern management.
Q: Why did you choose to work at Vanguard?
A: I have always wanted to work in the financial services industry, but for a company that aligns with my values and morals. At Vanguard, ethical practices are the core values of the firm, and the mission revolves around benefitting all investors. When all crew members feel valued and included, our ability to collaborate and innovate is amplified, and we are united in delivering on Vanguard’s core purpose: to take a stand for all investors, treat them fairly, and give them the best chance for investment success. For these reasons, Vanguard was a clear choice to spend the summer after my junior year.
Q: Can you describe what you have worked on this summer?
A: I had the opportunity to be involved with two projects this summer here at Vanguard. The first was within Data and Analytics for Legal and Compliance. I worked on an algorithm that compiled Vanguard’s equity trading history into reports for regulatory agencies, such as the SEC. My second project was to create a platform for portfolio managers and traders on the Equities Index Group’s trading desk to combat inefficiencies throughout the floor. Vanguard has provided all of the interns – including myself – with the opportunity to play a vital role, and provide value to the company.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met?
A: The most interesting person I have met this summer was the founder of Vanguard, John Bogle. A few interns had the opportunity to sit with Mr. Bogle and ask him questions about his insight into the future of the company and industry trends. He instilled his wisdom upon us, and reminded us to remain grounded to the true values that he founded Vanguard with in 1975. John Bogle is an inspiration to the financial industry, and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity Vanguard has given me to meet him and so many other influential individuals.
Q: Have you attended any interesting events at Vanguard?
A: Yes! One of my favorite events so far at Vanguard was a Community Garden lunch that I was invited to. Volunteer work is highly encouraged here, and one of Vanguard’s projects is the Community Garden, where crew members volunteer time to help grow fresh vegetables for donation. During this lunch the executive chef showed garden volunteers different recipes using the vegetables that they had grown. It was wonderful to see such a showing of community, and the food was delicious!
College to Corporate Internship: From One Campus to Another
Vanguard’s College to Corporate internship program is unique and different from the typical internship that you would expect. From the very first day, I was treated like a contributing member of the Vanguard team. My opinions, questions and work are all valued. Whenever I have a question, I do not hesitate to turn around and ask my manager or another member of the team. If I have the slightest problem, be it professional or personal, there are multiple crew members ready to help with genuine smiles on their faces. Questions are not only tolerated, but encouraged, and no one expects prior knowledge since the job is a learning experience. The people here are so friendly, encouraging and engaging. In fact, Vanguard offers the warmest work environment I’ve experienced thus far. Vanguard encourages every team to bond and really get to know each other. Our work teams have gone to lunches at restaurants, participated in book clubs, attended Phillies games, and thrown barbeques after work! Networking like this and in other ways such as meeting for lunch or coffee is encouraged. The program is structured such that there is a manager, program coordinator, and a buddy who all check in and see how you are adjusting to life as a Vanguard employee. There are events that provide overviews of the many different programs within the company and lunch events to meet and chat with full time crew members.
While life in the office is important, so is life outside of it. Vanguard recognizes this and creates a generous work-life balance for all its crew members. We are encouraged to schedule meetings and coffee chats to learn about different disciplines whenever the chance arises. We relish in the collaborative team environment and are happy to see each other at all times. Everyone is supportive, kind, and willing to help out their peers. We all come in to the office excited to work and learn from each other.
There are many reasons why we refer to Vanguard as a campus: the brick buildings along Vanguard Boulevard, beautiful forest and landscaping, cafeterias filled with smiling faces, and of course our wonderful classmates and teachers. The latter two refer to not only our fellow interns and managers, but also every person you meet at Vanguard! There is always an opportunity to learn something new, and you are graded not for the knowledge or technical abilities you already possess, but on your enthusiasm and willingness to handle new situations and grow as a professional. Vanguard has made this experience incredible because it really feels like you’re still at school! You’re exposed to an environment that fosters growth and learning, allows you to make new life-long friends, and is an overall amazing place to work.
– Charles K., Jodi G., Madhavi V., Grant L., & Pravadh S.
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.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer risks, and promote treatment and prevention options. Vanguard is proud to offer benefits that make it easier for crew to get the screenings and medical care they need. Kristin T., a crew member, shares her experience with breast cancer.
It’s September 27, 2017. My family’s day is already busy – our calendar says that my husband will be at Drexel and that we also have a Cub Scout meeting and soccer practice tonight. But below soccer, in all caps, are the words, “CANCER.” It’s the fourth anniversary of the day that I got the horrible call from my doctor telling me that I had breast cancer.
Breast cancer? Really? Skin cancer maybe, I grew up in the ‘80s when being tan and using too much hairspray could have easily killed me, but breast cancer? I had no family history, no lumps, no pains, and no symptoms. I was only 40. 40! Here I am 4 years later and I’ve shared my story very openly since day 1. A few years ago I was named one of 23 Women of Influence from Main Line Today and had a chance to chat with Tracy Davidson of NBC 10, a fellow breast cancer survivor. I remember clearly one of the messages given by the keynote, Dr. Marisa Weiss of Breastcancer.org, that day when she was speaking with Tracy on stage. She told the audience that 90% of breast cancers are caused by lifestyle and environmental factors. Which meant I could still blame the 1980’s. But it also meant that I should probably make some changes. Exercise more, eat healthier, stress less. Easier said than done. With stress she drove home a point about battling emotional stress by surrounding yourself with positive people in your life and making the tough decision to cut out or avoid people that make you unhappy. Life is too short for fun suckers.
Something that people don’t talk about much in addition to nutrition, exercise, and stress is your mental health after being diagnosed with the “C” word. Most people go into fight mode once diagnosed and the focus becomes beating the disease. But some of the hardest emotional work comes after you’ve won the battle. The cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your mind. Suddenly every ache and pain in your body must be cancer. Surely you are going to die soon. Life becomes more urgent. Because death just knocked on your door.
Since my diagnosis I have had several other friends in their early 40’s diagnosed. My advice:
Don’t wait. Do self-exams and get a mammogram as soon as your doctor and insurance will allow. If not for a baseline mammogram at age 37 to compare to the one I received at age 40, my cancer would not have been detected early and I may not be here today. Remember, only 5-10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary. I had no symptoms at all. #40SavesLives
Don’t ignore the emotional toll that a diagnosis might take on both you and your family. There is no shame in seeing a counselor if it helps. When I was diagnosed our twins were 6, and our other children were 4, and 1. My husband and I had just celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary.
Organizations in your area, such as Unite For Her, have some fantastic programs and resources that can make connections to nutritionists and others who can help as you aim to make some changes to your lifestyle.
Some people will point out how your situation could be worse as they attempt to make you feel better. Sure, it could always be worse, you could be dead. At times you will feel guilty for complaining. You have a right to be mad and sad. But, after the tears, look for the positives. This is one of many bumps in the road that you will experience in your life. Remember the saying, “It is not what happens to you. It is how you respond to it.”
Don’t hold a grudge. Some friends and family members won’t show up for you. And you will be disappointed. Don’t hold it against them. Life is too short.
If you have a friend or family member with cancer. My advice:
Try not to say, “Let me know if you need any help.” They won’t let you know. In general, no one likes asking for help. Just do it. Just show up and help.
Organize a meal train to help them through the tougher times.
Pitch in for a cleaning person, babysitting help, or gift cards that they can use.
Text them from the grocery store and offer to pick up milk or whatever is needed.
Send them a cozy blanket, slippers, and other comfy items for their recovery or trips for treatment.
Order them a pizza on a Friday night for their kids to eat.
Arrange playdates for their kids. Carpool! Help them keep life and the routine as normal as possible for the children.
Visit them. Being in the hospital or stuck at home recovering can be lonely. They need a laugh so tell them a funny story. Just hang out with them.
Don’t offer too much unsolicited advice. Just let them vent. Let them complain about the pains, the sleepless nights, the medication side effects, the cold hands of the doctor, the music in the waiting room, etc. Just let them talk.
Fitting In: My College to Corporate Internship Experience
“Am I a right fit?” This is the question that I continually asked myself throughout my initial interview at Vanguard for the College to Corporate internship. There I was, conducting an interview at one of the largest asset management firms in the world, without any other type of internships to my name. Talking to the other students being interviewed, I started to hear the names of some highly reputable internships that other potential candidates have completed. At this point, I realized that I may have underestimated the caliber of the students who were selected to interview for the College to Corporate internship, which made me doubt my own achievements.
You see, prior to this interview I had no experience working in the financial sector, unlike many other applicants for the internship. My professional experience consisted of research in a biology and physics lab, a mentoring position on campus, a teaching assistant position, and a science-based leadership role on campus. For a smaller-sized company, this would be excellent…but for a financial firm that has more than 4 trillion dollars in assets, I felt that my experiences made me an outlier compared to the other candidates, and not in a good way. All I could think was, “Why would they interview someone with no financial experience to take an internship at a financial company?” But as the interview progressed, I started to realize that although Vanguard is a financial company, having a strong financial background wasn’t all that Vanguard looks for in its applicants.
Although having a working knowledge of finance is necessary for working at Vanguard, the company values another element just as much as the knowledge of finance. This trait has many names, but here at Vanguard it’s called a “rotational mindset.” The crew members here at Vanguard have the opportunity to not just work in their role and follow that career path, but potentially move to another role that requires a completely different skill set than the previous role did. To be successful in this new position, you must be able to adapt to new changes, and use your transferable skills, whether it is leadership, analytical, communication, or something else entirely, to be able to take on the new challenges of this position. With this information I started to understand why I was interviewing with the rest of these candidates.
Throughout my tenure in college, I worked in a variety of disciplines. Although none of them were finance-related, all of my involvement required a different set of skills to tackle and solve the various problems in each of these disciplines: meticulous patience, strong analytical skills, and emotional intelligence among other things. This helped me develop the rotational mindset that Vanguard values in all of its crew members, from the new hires to the most senior leaders in the company.
Now, with 10 days left in the internship, I see why having this rotational mindset was so important to have while working at Vanguard. For my projects, I have had to work and learn from people across many different departments here at Vanguard, and having a wide variety of skills that transferred to each project helped me understand the avalanche of new information over the course of the internship.
So when you are developing your resume for the College to Corporate internship, ask yourself “Why Me?” Don’t try and just build the typical finance internship resume, because chances are there are other people doing the same thing, and Vanguard is more than just another “finance company”. Try something outside of your comfort zone, and show Vanguard, and the world, that your skills are not limited to just one field.
Our Final Week of Vanguard’s IT Internship: Presenting to our Chairman & CIO
At the start of our 10 week internship, the last thing we expected was to be sitting in an executive conference room presenting our team’s idea from Vanguard’s second annual hack-a-thon to both the Chairman and Chief Information Officer of Vanguard. As an all intern team, we were pleased to even have the opportunity to participate in the hack-a-thon, a day and a half devoted to using technology and our own skills to bring innovative and creative ideas to life.
Walking into the hack-a-thon on July 27th, we were amazed at the number of talented crew sitting around tables with their laptops ready to go. We’ll admit it: we were a bit worried about our prospects. As an intern team competing against over one hundred full-time Crew, representing over 30 teams, we weren’t sure if we’d be up to par.
Once we started programming, our doubts went away and Starboard was born – an application for Crew to commend each other for their good deeds. We worked together by utilizing our unique and diverse skillsets. Sean S. immediately stepped up to be our tech lead, breaking down the work that needed to be done. Smith S. and Kristie C. began working on our frictionless user interface, while Harry L. constructed detailed graphs for managers to visualize team contribution. Chandler G. and Kevin S. began working on gamifying our user experience with a voting system utilizing natural language processing.
In less than two days, we had a product working better than any of us had expected. Without having worked together before, we came together as a team and felt satisfied enough with the work we had done, regardless of how we ranked compared to the rest of the hack-a-thon teams. When it came time for judging, Sean turned to the group of us and just said, “regardless of the final results, I’m just proud of us as a team.”
The finalists were announced and we were on the list, we were ecstatic. Not only were we proud of what we had created, but the judges liked it as well! We gave what we thought was our final presentation of Starboard and left for the weekend pleased with our work. On Monday morning, Chandler got into work early and sent a text to the group comprised of simply, “We received an email this morning asking if we could present our project to Bill McNabb and John Marcante tomorrow. Should I tell them we’re interested?” After a resounding “YES!” from the entire team, we started preparing for what would clearly be the highlight of our internship.
The meeting with Bill McNabb and John Marcante went better than any of us could have imagined. They were both down to earth and incredibly welcoming to our group, even as summer interns! We were able to share with them how we believed our application could improve Crew relationships at Vanguard. Our team then talked to our design philosophy, what technologies we used, and answered whatever questions they had. Ultimately, we left feeling both accomplished and honored, and we all agreed that this was an experience we were never going to forget.
The impact that we were able to make at Vanguard in just 10 weeks was made obvious by this priceless opportunity. The IT College to Corporate Internship challenged us and pushed us out of our comfort zones, while providing us with the support and endless potential to pursue opportunities to be innovative and make a difference at Vanguard.
Answers to your most pressing questions about starting an internship at Vanguard
1. When do I find out my assignment?
During your interviews, you will have the opportunity to voice where your interests lie and what kind of department you hope to be in that summer. Then, a couple of weeks prior to the internship starting, the C2C program managers send all the interns their assignments, with brief descriptions. Generally speaking, the managers are really great about matching up your interests to departments where there is need for an intern. In terms of what your day-to-day will look like, it definitely varies with your department.
2. What will my hours be?
Working hours vary across all the Vanguard departments. Probably the most typical hours for an intern would be 8am-5pm, but that is definitely not the case for all of us. For example, if your manager wants you working an 8 hour day, but you can’t stand rush hour traffic, you might choose to work 7am-4pm so you can get home quickly. You might have days where your team leaves early, so you decide to as well. And sometimes, you might need to work overtime if there is a strict deadline that your team is working against.
3. Do I need a car?
Not necessarily! Having a car makes transport easy, but Vanguard is really great about providing public transportation. Vanguard has several free shuttles to get you where you need to be. For example, if you stay at Villanova University during the internship, you can take Septa to Paoli Station, where free Vanguard shuttles will bring you to work (same thing on the way back).
4. Can I take time off?
As an intern, we would recommend you not take time off unless it is something extremely important, or an emergency. You’re only here for 10 weeks, so might as well make the most of your time. That being said, you do get July 4th off. When in doubt, ask your manager!
5. Can I work from home?
While interns aren’t able to work from home, there are plenty of opportunities to have flexible schedules in the office. Talk to your manager!
6. What should I wear?
As you can see from this picture, we’re all wearing very different outfits. Josh went for what you might call a “business casual” outfit, because he had a pretty relaxed day ahead. Audra went for what you might call a “business appropriate” outfit, as we had a standard day of some meetings, a C2C event, and heads-down project work time. Megha opted for a “business formal” outfit, because on that day she had a 1-on-1 meeting with a senior leader on her team. Your work-wear will change depending on the day ahead, so a flexible wardrobe definitely helps. Also a tip: keep a blazer at your cubicle! You never know when you’ll be pulled into an important meetings.
7. Who do I go to when I need help?
One of the nicest things about the Vanguard internship is that you always have someone to help. You are assigned a buddy who is in one of the leadership programs to field any questions you might have, from the simple “where is the bathroom” to helping you make career decisions. You will also have fellow Crew on your team, other interns, your intern manager, and your assignment manager.
8. What are the intern housing options?
You are expected to live at home and commute if you live within a 50-mile radius of Vanguard. If you live outside the radius, you are eligible for housing options. They are:
Two-person dorms at Villanova University (free housing)
A stipend that will be put to a housing option of your choice (ex: an apartment in Philly)
9. How often do interns visit Philadelphia?
Most of the interns go into the city on the weekends. Good food, fun events, museums, shopping, sports, and pretty much everything else you would want in a city is right in Philly!
10. Do you have a best friend at work?
Yes! Whether it be another intern, a fellow Crew, your manager, or the building security guard, it’s not hard to find a best friend at Vanguard. Having friends at work makes going to work enjoyable and you feel supported no matter what role you might move to. Everyone is very personable and easy to talk to, so don’t be afraid to get to know your team and peers!
Rounding out our seventh week in the internship, a quick step back allowed us to realize how Vanguard’s campus is unique. With a list of amenities that make Malvern feel like home, each of our blog members selected his or her favorite location on campus. Read on to find out more.
With three gyms located around the main and west campuses, Vanguard provides its employees with every opportunity to stay healthy and live a balanced lifestyle. Branded as ShipShape, these gyms include top of the line equipment and trainers that you would find in a full sized gym, with the convenience of being located just a short walk from your desk. Whether you’re a serious weightlifter, training for a marathon, or simply trying to get into shape, ShipShape has it all. Accessible to interns as well, it’s a great opportunity to meet up with a friend outside of work and cool down after a long day. If you’re lucky, you might even bump into Vanguard’s CEO on the rowing machine.
Stephanie H.:Quarry Ridge
The view of Quarry Ridge blows me away on 425 Old Morehall Road. This location presented an opportunity for Vanguard to work with designers and establish a more innovative control system than ever before! Walking into the building and overseeing the quarry through the windows is a beautiful sight, with views of open water and greenery extending into the horizon. This space offers a relaxing change of scenery, which I love utilizing to clear my head on busy days. It’s also excellent for having lunches with other interns or crew members and catching up on different projects and initiatives that they are working on.
Maddie S.: Morgan Galley
My favorite spot on campus is the coffee cafe located in Morgan Galley (Vanguard’s main cafeteria). In addition to brewing great coffee, the galley is the perfect spot to catch-up with fellow interns and other crew members. Whenever I go over to grab coffee in the morning, I always end up running in to someone and chatting with them for a few minutes. It’s definitely an awesome spot to network with crew from all different areas of the company.
Divesh O.: Top floor of Quarry Ridge
I love the view of the Quarry from the top floor. It’s tranquil and peaceful. I love working at a place with such dedication to a great work environment and scenery. Perhaps this is the poet in me, but I feel as though the scenery mimics the culture. We are focused, diligent and passionate about serving our clients. I compare the deliberation and questioning of designs and initiatives to the waves in the water. They are slow, precise and practiced. I enjoy following a ripple develop from the shore to the rock’s edge. It takes its time, building for about two minutes until it reaches the end, accomplished. I see this pattern in our initiatives; they develop with great care and detail and finally deliver satisfaction and value to our clients.
Matt P.: Collaborative Work Spaces
Most of my time spent at Vanguard is spent in a collaborative working environment like this one. While it may look like a first grade classroom, our sticky notes all have value and help us to work together to plot out and solve business problems. As an intern, working in a collaborative space allows me to feel confident in my work because should I get stuck, there are 8 other developers in the room that are happy to assist me. Working in this kind of social environment may seem distracting at first but after a few scrums (agile framework for completing complex projects) and collaborative problem solving sessions, you begin to see its’ value.
Once upon a time in different lands far away, we, six students, stumbled upon an opportunity one busy college day. Dan had heard from his family how great it would be to take part in an intern program known as C2C.
Nicole learned from her school and Sam, an info-session. Client, Crew, and Community—Oh, how it caught our attention!
By word of mouth we all heard about the chance to work hard, so we all set sail to pursue a summer with Vanguard. From business to investment to IT to finance, we sent our applications in, anxiously waiting for the chance—the chance to show our talents and earn a first-round interview, a single step closer to becoming a part of Vanguard’s crew.
A recruiter called to interview us first. How we practiced so long to not come off as rehearsed. Yet, as soon as the phone rang, and the recruiter said “Hi”, we were all eager to say, “I want to work at Vanguard and here are reasons why:”
Zac desired a summer where he could be challenged and grow. We wanted to learn about the financial industry, because there is so much to know. Mahrukh strived to work for a company whose goal was to set their clients up for success and learn from crew members and interns alike to become her very best.
The recruiter said (although not in these words) that we were in good ship-shape because the C2C internship would be just the place. Since we seemed driven and talented and excited to learn, come down for an interview day in the town of Malvern. We were not alone—the day was spent with plenty of crew and other amazing students very similar to you.
One of the best parts of the day: we each found friends. And at the start of our summers, we saw those friends again. Our day was more than an interview—it was much more than this. It was a chance to see a future with Vanguard, which was our number one wish.
We had lunch with past interns and networked with leaders throughout. It was our opportunity to figure out what Vanguard’s all about. Through the buildings of Audacious and Majestic, we went on a tour—Brennan, eagerly wanting a peek of the trading floor. Look to the right, you’ll see one of the 11 food courts.
Don’t get us started on the benefits—did you know we have intramural sports? The day of the interview flew by so fast. Six interns anxiously waited to hear back – and then, at last! A recruiter called with some wonderful news—excited to welcome us as part of the crew!
We would start after Memorial Day and learn a few weeks prior to which part of Vanguard we would become the new hire. We were each given summer buddies—current employees, who had been through it all: VADP, AFP, and even C2C.
To our reader preparing for their own interview—do not be nervous, do not fret, and just be you. Because just as Vanguard’s mission is to give their investors the best chance for investment success, they are dedicated to steering you as well to be your very best. Each of our roles is unique and our summers very fun. We cannot believe that the internship is halfway done. But if you want to hear more about our orientation, the work, and the laughter, tune into our next blog to hear a happily ever after.
By: Nicole G., Daniel K., Zac M., Brennan O., Mahrukh S., & Samantha W.