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, or if Mr. Bogle is right around the corner…
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.