Recently, I took the time to sit back and reflect on my experiences in the workforce as a whole and realized I’ve been pretty fortunate. I have worked in various fields – while not necessarily ideal since I’ve always wanted to work in finance, I still never worked in a role or for a company I didn’t enjoy. However, last year while working in the telecommunications field and with six years of military experience under my belt, I decided that I would finally do all I could to get into the financial industry. I joined Vanguard in September of 2017, and not only has it been a refreshing change of scenery in a new field, it’s been everything I’ve hoped for and more.
An excellent support system
As a Client Relationship Associate, there were a few daunting things I had to face to jump start my career – taking the Series 7 and Series 63 exams, and refreshing my finance knowledge from my accounting studies in college. I was fully prepared to go home each day and study like my career depended on it – because frankly, it did. This is when I first noticed the depth of Vanguard’s support. My fellow new hires and I were provided study materials free of cost and given a plethora of time to be able to study, ask questions, take classes, review scenarios, and everything else we needed. I passed both exams on the first try – despite not having a finance degree!
Now, as I approach a year as a successful Client Relationship Associate at one of the largest firms in the world, I’ve started to pursue growth opportunities both professionally and personally—some of which include helping our local communities. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the holiday giving season through Vanguard, and we’re also provided a volunteer time off day in which we get to help our communities while being paid! Professionally, I’ve been able to meet with fellow crew members in different departments and see a day in their lives, pick their brains about what’s needed to succeed in their role, and view them in action. My team leader Jake has been essential in not only lending his network to get me in contact with different departments, but also in getting me the free time to explore other roles at Vanguard. These sessions have been very important and have helped me identify next steps and roles I’d like to pursue at Vanguard.
With the free time to observe other departments combined with seeing how my team leader has helped me on my journey, I’ve figured out that I want to pursue either a financial advisor or leadership role. I’ve enjoyed seeing the way our leaders develop crew members through coaching and mentoring, and watching how our advisors add value to our clients’ lives by helping them accomplish their goals. It is my hope to continue to build even deeper and more meaningful relationships with my colleagues and our clients, as well as to further develop my skills in my career. Whether it be in leadership or as an advisor, I will continue to be a steward of Vanguard’s mission to take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success, all while fostering this same passion with the crew and clients I work with.
With Vanguard’s flexibility and support, I have full faith that I’ll be able to succeed and in a timely manner. As my journey continues, I’m excited to know I have Vanguard’s support and would encourage others to be unafraid of using all of the wonderful resources available to you. I know that I will be able to attain the career I want at Vanguard.
Why I Got Rid Of My Five Year Plan
Vanguard crew member Lauren reflects on why she tossed out her five year plan and instead focused on building a career within a company and industry she grew to love.
Inclusion – It’s More Than a Policy Hear from crew about their thoughts on LGBTQ+ inclusion at Vanguard, and learn about the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index—and how we stacked up.
My dad sparked my investment passion; Vanguard fueled it
My father was a payroll clerk by trade, but his true passion was investing. When I was growing up in the 1980s, every weeknight at 6 o’clock my dad watched The Nightly Business Report on PBS on our only TV. Needless to say, this was before the internet and CNBC (I know, I’m dating myself), so it was really the only way you could find out what happened in the markets before you read it in the newspapers the next day.
I vividly recall how my dad used to hoot and holler whenever good news boosted one of the stocks he owned, even though he regularly invested through up and down markets, reinvested the dividends, and held his stocks for decades. His passion sparked my interest in pursuing an investment career, which began at another investment firm performing research and oversight of institutional money managers. While I was aware of Vanguard and even owned some Vanguard mutual funds, at the time I had the impression that Vanguard was “just” an index shop, and not a “real” investment firm.
Boy, was I wrong.
My introduction to Vanguard
About nine years ago, I began to pursue an opening in Vanguard’s Oversight and Manager Search team. The more research I did on Vanguard, the more I realized that it was truly a world-class investment firm – active and passive, equity and fixed income. The crew I met with were smart yet humble, and the investment research was insightful and balanced.
I joined Vanguard in 2009 as a Senior Investment Analyst in the Portfolio Review Department, on the team that provides oversight of Vanguard’s investment managers and funds. I was able to learn about a lot of different investment approaches from not only Vanguard internal managers, but from the roughly 30 other world-class investment firms Vanguard partners with like Wellington, PRIMECAP, and Ballie Gifford.
Senior Investment Analysts 2013
Vanguard around the globe
One day in 2013, I was on my way to the Galley (the on-campus cafeteria) when my department head pulled me into his office and said, “We’re thinking of sending you to Hong Kong.” My reply was, “I was thinking of getting a sandwich.”
Ten months after that conversation, my wife, three kids, and I moved to Hong Kong where I was tasked with building Vanguard’s investment product function for Asia—designing and launching Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and mutual funds, and educating clients about them. It’s where I learned about the ETF ecosystem and retirement systems for Asian countries.
Asia Product and Investment Team 2017
After three years in Asia, I returned to our headquarters in 2017 to lead Vanguard’s Defined Contribution Advisory Services (DCAS) team. Ever wonder how a company decides which funds to offer its employees in their 401(k) plan? And how they oversee those funds? Well, our team of investment professionals delivers investment perspectives, evaluations, and custom portfolios to help those companies and their consultants do just that.
DCAS- ugly sweaters and curling!
A common thread
My three roles at Vanguard are very different and none of them are in the Investment Management division, but the one common thread was each requires a strong degree of investment acumen for success. Fortunately, Vanguard provides a ton of resources and support for crew to develop and deepen their investment acumen, from paid support for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) and Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) programs, free mobile access to the Wall Street Journal and other industry news sources, numerous internal investment training sessions, and more. As long as you bring a “growth mindset” and an intellectual curiosity, there’s no limit to your development.
I’ve seen Vanguard’s investment research, analysis, and portfolio management become more sophisticated and global over the years. But our investment philosophy has remained steadfast since our founding more than 40 years ago: set an investment goal, diversify your portfolio, keep your costs low, and stick to a plan —strikingly similar to my dad’s approach.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
From designing buildings to building financial plans
In my last blog, I shared with you the moment I knew leaving the world of architecture behind for personal finance was the right move. This is how I was inspired to come to Vanguard.
In the fall of 2012, my school awarded John Bogle the “Pioneer Award” for his efforts in starting the Index Fund and persevering through the hard road for this phenomenon to catch on. Here I was sitting, on the edge of my seat of course, several feet from a titan of finance!
After the Q&A session, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Mr. Bogle and his team. He autographed my copy of The Little Book of Common Sense Investing and shared a few more stories. Later that day, I helped him carry his Pioneer Award and a large framed painting of a ship from Great Britain’s Royal Navy to his vehicle. I also made sure to tuck my resume in the portfolio of one of his recruiters.
Several emails and a few college transcripts later, I landed an interview with Vanguard’s Business Development Group. By this time, I was a pro in navigating Vanguard’s campus as I had visited during one of their EXPLORE days. Two weeks later, after the phone screen and four hour interview I was offered a full time position. Not only was I going to start my career with a top investment management firm, but I ended my job search before I even graduated!
After several weeks on Vanguard’s campus in Malvern, PA, I felt at home. Now I knew why so many investors trusted Vanguard with their life savings. Everyone from peers to leaders was dedicated to helping not only our clients but also crew members like myself, grow as professionals. The management team was engaged in my development and my peer coach was ready to provide job aids and resources to help get me off the runway.
By the end of 2013, the economy was continuing to stabilize, cash flows into Vanguard were steadily increasing, and the phones were ringing off the hook. Vanguard announced they were rebranding its advice offer, now calling it Personal Advisor Services® and that it was going to revolutionize the world of advice. We were going to provide high-quality, low-cost advice to millions and I couldn’t wait to be a part of this investment revolution!
Shortly after the announcement, I began studying for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification. I was amazed to see how interconnected all of the financial planning topics were. With this amazement came a sense of need, knowing that these are real areas where people struggle. I experienced firsthand my family and friends scratching their heads and guessing at how to allocate their portfolios, determining how much they’ll need to comfortably retire, or even recite the definition of a balance sheet. Personal Advisor Services® was my shot at helping the masses get their financial lives on track.
After spending two years working in sales, going toe-to-toe with the competition, I was headed to Personal Advisor Services®. Again, my peers and leadership team went right to work on helping me get up to speed on the new technology, investment methodology, and best practices of managing the relationships I would build as an advisor. Now, with a few years of giving advice under my belt, I couldn’t imagine doing this for any other firm!
Looking back at it all, I know I made the right decision. I never thought I could develop the relationships I have with my colleagues, leaders, and company in the way that I do now. It’s been five years since I first stepped foot on Vanguard’s campus and believe it or not, I still get that day one feeling.
And John Bogle and I are on a first name basis.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, learn about our careers in advice atwww.vanguardjobs.com.
Vanguard Leadership Development Programs’ case club event
When I became a manager in Vanguard’s rotational Leadership Development Programs, I heard about a very special week in April called Leadership Week. After just a few weeks in my role, I started to receive intriguing invitations to events like Case Club, Inclusion, and a Fireside chat with our CEO Tim Buckley. Additional invites followed for teambuilding activities and fellowship, where I would get to meet and build relationships with all the participants across our development programs – Investment Management, Acceleration into Financial Professional, Emerging Leader, Technology Leadership, Financial Advisor, and MBA. To say I was excited was an understatement!
After I enthusiastically accepted all of the invitations, I received the wonderful news that I was chosen to be a Team Advisor for our day long Case Club event. I will admit, my first question was – what exactly is Case Club? Case Club is a day dedicated to defining and analyzing the problem of a chosen case. Crew from our leadership development programs work in teams to make creative recommendations for a particular case, and then present their findings to a panelist of tenured Vanguard leaders and our MBA program participants. Building relationships, tons of learning, team building AND a catered breakfast and lunch? Sign me up!
As a Team Advisor, I have to be honest – my team rocked! Renamed Team 1.06, for their extraordinary skill and speed during our teambuilding event, my team was compiled of crew from all three US Vanguard sites (PA, AZ, and NC) and multiple programs. Overall, I was impressed with the caliber of thought leadership and collaboration of all participants.
Lindsey G. shared her experience, “Diversity in all aspects is an asset for any company, and Case Club is an incredible example of how Vanguard values this mindset. With a variety of backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences, it was a true privilege to brainstorm in such a comprehensive way.” Claire B. echoed, “I especially appreciated the opportunity to work with and learn from my peers in the other specialty programs across all three of Vanguard’s US offices. The seven of us were able to tackle our business case from many angles because of our unique experiences and interests.” I couldn’t agree more with these participants! I was in awe to observe this exceptional group of crew build enriching and positive relationships, leverage their subject expertise with humility, and take a partnered team approach to the problem, all the while still able to challenge ideas and solutions.
As a Leadership Development Program manager, I especially appreciated seeing the level of participant confidence continue to build throughout the day as teams’ analyzed the case and built their final presentation. Kyle C. shared, “The highlight of the case study for me was walking out of the presentation and the team unanimously agreed that it went even better than we had practiced.” Verity F. added, “The opportunity to enhance our ability to present, appreciate, and respectfully debate ideas will be invaluable as we move forward with our careers at Vanguard.” David M. summed it up best, “Case club was definitely the highlight of my week!”
The entire development program leadership team strives to provide a positive learning environment where our crew can be constantly challenged through developmental and growth experiences while they navigate their career path within Vanguard. Matt J. shared his perspective, “As a member of the MBA Leadership Development program I had the opportunity to sit on a panel and listen to presentations from groups made up of all the Vanguard programs. It provided me an insightful opportunity to get into the brilliant minds of our crew. I had several “lightbulb” moments as they walked me through their thought process and decisions when solving specific challenges. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to participate, and look forward to sharing some of the new ways of thinking I observed with those that I work with every day.”
Lindsey G.’s final reflections are a true testament to Vanguard’s culture of building relationships, teamwork, and creative problem solving, “Sure, we will remember certain parts of the case, but I will never forget my extremely talented teammates and our ability to work together so well towards a common goal.” Way to go Case Club participants! It was an honor and a privilege to coach, support and lead our participants throughout the day.
If you enjoyed this post, check out more from our #LifeatVanguard Blog. And if you’re ready for a more rewarding, engaging, meaningful career, learn more about our Leadership Development Programs at www.vanguardjobs.com.
Growing up, toy blocks ruled my world. Spaceships, sky scrapers, submarines – you name it, I built it. So… it came as no surprise to Mom when I declared I wanted to be an architect when I grew up. It made a lot of sense why I would choose this profession. I was the kid who was passionately curious about everything. The kid who asked for tools as Christmas gifts. The kid who hooked up the VCR at age 4. I was also the kid who took all the screws out of the dining room table, resulting in us ordering takeout that night. I had the brain of an engineer, the soul of an artist, and a mother at her wits’ end.
Fast forward to 2007. High school was in my rear view mirror and I was heading off to college to study the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Zaha Hadid, and I. M. Pei. When grades were posted over winter break, Mom’s flashbacks of my childhood antics slowly dissipated after seeing a 3.6 GPA. I finished out the rest of my freshman year strong and had one of my designs featured in our school’s newspaper. Despite all of the hard work and long road ahead of me, I was feeling good about my decision to study architecture.
In the fall of 2008, things started to feel different. Internship postings on our school’s career website began disappearing, newspaper headlines warned of troubling times in the housing market, and I could see an uneasiness in almost every adult I knew, including Mom. By the end of the year, the S&P 500 was down nearly 40%, the unemployment rate was on its way to doubling, and the world was in a panic.
My engineering mind needed to know what was happening and more importantly, WHY? I began reading financial websites, looking for answers. After asking almost every adult I knew “what’s going on?” I discovered that no one, other than those who had a hand in it, knew what was happening. When the market finally bottomed in March of 2009, the mystery was over. The subprime mortgage lending business, the securitization of risky bank products, and Wall Street’s greed led to the greatest recession of our modern world. It would take years for the economy and housing market to recover. My dream of becoming an architect was over.
In the fall of 2009, I did what every logical 19 year old would do after a global financial meltdown. I changed my major to finance. I wanted those around me to have a resource to lean on for financial help. After a few semesters, I learned about the world of personal finance and was again energized to make a difference. It wasn’t until a college professor assigned The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle that I realized how murky the waters of financial planning were. Virtually anyone could market themselves as an investment advisor as long as they had a nice suit, firm handshake, and knew a joke to put your mind at ease. So what could I do about it?
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I share how I met the man who changed the investment world and inspired me to join Vanguard.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, learn about our careers at www.vanguardjobs.com.
Vanguard women break down investment acumen myths and perceptions
Vanguard’s crew resource group WILS (Women’s Initiative for Leadership Success) recently hosted a panel discussion with three female senior leaders in Investment Management to help breakdown investment acumen myths and misconceptions. In this blog, we recap the event and share how these discussions drive professional development and offer ways to improve this important skill-set.
Three panelists take the stage, each representing a different area of focus in Vanguard’s Investment Management group: U.S. Equity Investment Risk Management, Global Rates and Fixed Income Strategy, and Product Planning. Each share their diverse career journey – some had long investment management careers outside Vanguard, others spent time on our Client Services teams or in rotational programs. But all three were anxious to help the women and men in the audience overcome their struggles with the often intimidating world of investment management.
First, it was imperative that the panel define what encompasses Investment Acumen – how does it differ for those focused squarely and deeply in Investment Management from those whose leadership interests are more general?
Seeking deep investment acumen
Two of the panelists expressed the importance of specialization in Investment Management. Their career advice for those who are pursuing this path is to go deep on what interests you most. Develop conviction and an opinion in that area, pursue courses and/or certifications that will increase your knowledge and expertise. They conveyed that specialization is a great way to distinguish yourself.
General investment knowledge
It is also important to have foundational investment acumen for anyone working in Financial Services and at Vanguard. Prior to her current role, one of the panelists had spent the majority of her career in leadership and strategy roles, where she had a strong focus on developing crew. This leader shared that she was keenly tuned in to her learning style. She knew that it was important for her to deepen her investment acumen, so she sought a role to close what she felt were some gaps in this area. She also reinforced the importance of knowing yourself, “I have an all-in learning style so I knew an immersive experience was right for me.” For others in similar situations, she encouraged the audience to think about what unique strengths you bring to the table. How might you lean into those as you’re learning and contributing to a new group?
The panelists also shared their thoughts on how women in Investment Management can be perceived, and the unique challenges they have experienced in overcoming conscious and unconscious bias. The fact is that currently there are significantly fewer women than men in investment management. In everyday settings, women need to adopt strategies to make sure their diverse thoughts are heard. When any group of people is outnumbered, they tend to be heard less and more likely to get interrupted and dismissed.
These panelists advise us to keep swimming against the current. Seek to understand the dynamic of whatever group you’re in and develop a strategy for how you can fit in. It is important for each of us to be ourselves, while fitting into the environment as that self and on our own terms. A great foundation is to build your acumen and credentialize yourself as a valuable voice in the room. Everyone in the room was already doing that very thing – attending sessions like these builds acumen and strengths that enable crew to stand out.
Finally, the panelists recognized the opportunity each leader in investment management has to “represent women well.” Without diverse thinking, how can we meet the diverse needs of our clients?
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
At Vanguard, we do our best to live up to our mission of “taking a stand for all investors”. Between our carefully chosen products, services, and hard-working crew, our clients have the best chance for success with their investments! But during my time here, I’ve seen Vanguard support a different type of investing – investing in their crew. At Vanguard, you can be part of an environment that inspires continual learning–and not just with encouraging words. There is action behind those words!
Trying new things
Some days, I get to act as a mad scientist – piecing together a Frankenstein-like application with new technologies and programming languages. What I’m creating may not always go into production, but the time and freedom to spend a few paid hours to get my feet wet on something new is a beautiful thing. It helps me learn and is just one of the ways Vanguard has invested in me!
For more physical interactions, Vanguard also brings in vendors who spend a few days with groups to teach a desired skill. The invitation for these trainings are spread far and wide. It’s similar to having a college professor and study group. The great thing about this is you’re given time during the week or throughout the day to participate in these trainings. You don’t have to stay an extra 40 hours to get your day-to-day duties complete, which helps maintain work/life balance.
Another major opportunity I received with Vanguard is the chance to go to conferences. Our peers and leaders make sure our work is covered so we as employees have the opportunity to learn and grow during a fun experience.
Vanguard understands that educating and giving opportunities to employees helps us create the best products for our clients. Learning new skills also keeps crew engaged, which makes us want to do more for clients. I knew coming out of college that information technology was a glorious yet dangerous field to be in. This field is forever changing. So what is now desired in IT may not be in the next 2 years. Lucky for me, the resources and time that are required and desired for me to flourish in IT are easily accessible at Vanguard.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
I’ve always been fascinated with human behavior, and wanted to find a career where I could help people live happier lives. I thought that if I could understand people’s thought processes, I might be able to help them make better decisions. So, I decided to study psychology. During my college years, I pursued internships that allowed me to deepen my understanding of human behavior and explore potential career paths, with the goal of earning a PhD in clinical psychology. But as much as I loved learning about psychology, I just couldn’t picture myself working anywhere I had interned. I put my plans for graduate school on hold and continued exploring what I wanted to be when I grew up.
After graduating, I worked at an employee assistance program call center where I connected people with financial, legal, and behavioral health resources. The majority of my calls involved assessing the caller’s various challenges– and through these calls, I began to notice a pattern. In a lot of cases, people’s financial issues were at the heart of their problems. Unfortunately there wasn’t much I could do to help them as I didn’t have the financial background to provide the right guidance. I knew there had to be a way I could offer more meaningful help.
Applying to Vanguard
I wasn’t sure that a finance company like Vanguard would hire someone without a business or finance background, but I heard such great things about the company, I had to give it a shot. So during the interview, I conveyed my passion for helping people and my desire to learn how to help people achieve their financial goals. Because of my dedication to clients and my related skills, they offered me a position as a Client Relationship Specialist in the Retail Investor Group. I was so grateful that Vanguard hired candidates with various backgrounds and appreciated diversity of thought. Crew members are valued for their unique interests, passions, and experiences. And Vanguard does an incredible job teaching the skills necessary for crew to be successful in their roles.
Securities license exams
Now I’m not going to lie and say passing the FINRA Series 7 and 63 licensing exams was easy, but college taught me how to learn and the trainers and fellow crew at Vanguard supported me every step of the way. They offered study materials and practice test questions, and used teaching methods that made the topics comprehensible for every learning style. Crew members who were passionate about coaching and leadership spent time explaining the more difficult concepts to us. The caring culture was evident from the first day I set foot on campus in Charlotte, NC.
Finding my place in finance
Now that I’ve been at Vanguard for a few years, I finally feel like I’m giving clients the services that make their lives easier and their financial situations better. Additionally, I’ve been able to amplify my impact by supporting process improvement projects that help crew and millions of clients.
But it wasn’t just my clients who received support. The sense of community has only grown over the last 6 ½ years I’ve been here. My peers, mentors, and leaders at Vanguard have all encouraged me to test out different career paths, and build additional skills. Since coming here, I’ve learned how to network, build a personal brand, and strengthen my professional presence. I’ve had the chance to work with IT teams and volunteer in the community at Vanguard sponsored events. I’ve even had the opportunity to complete my MBA, fulfilling my aspiration for higher education.
Looking back, I always knew I wanted to help others, I just didn’t know the best way to go about it. Deep down, I knew I wanted to help people get informed and find the right path. I never dreamed that, along the way, I would also help myself.
I’ve heard many women in IT talking about how amazing the Grace Hopper conference is, and I was so excited when I was selected to attend this year’s conference in Orlando. All of the major technology companies would be there, the keynote speakers sounded so impressive, and there were tons of workshops to choose from. I’ve been at Vanguard for a long time, and I know how careful we are about choosing the most influential learning opportunities.
I started connecting with the other women at Vanguard who were selected to go; we planned our travel arrangements together and looked over the workshops. I was impressed to see that on the very first morning there were 5 keynote speakers — from Melinda Gates to professors at Stanford and Harvard, to the inventor of VMWare, Diane Greene, to Dr. Sue Black CEO from the UK who started #techmums.
Wednesday morning, I headed over to the convention center from my hotel, and was absolutely amazed. There were thousands of women of all ages wearing t-shirts that aim to inspire women in technology careers. “Connect Your Passion”, “Moms Can Code”, “Strong Diverse Amazon”, “Lesbians Who Tech” were some that I noticed. As I went towards registration, standing among 18,000 women, I felt a connection of sisterhood.
All these women had broken barriers in some way, sat through years of schooling, and hundreds of hours of meetings as ‘the only’ and here we all were, together for three days of fun, encouragement, and career development.
Throughout the three days, I heard from brilliant, creative women who had used their passion to solve world problems and develop technology that made a difference in the lives of thousands. Speakers discussed topics such as, using data mining to solve city problems, how bias can get into machine learning, and how artificial intelligences from drones can increase crop production. I met women who helped make Microsoft products accessible for every disability, the CEO of Goldiblox who developed engineering type toys that encouraged girls to think of engineering as an outlet for their creativity, and women who were helping Pinterest determine algorithm differences needed to attract women vs men. There were speakers on influence and persuasion, using your seat at the table, and unconscious bias.
The Vanguard attendees had the opportunity to meet with some prospective crew at our recruiting booth who had interests in possibly working at Vanguard. We were one of the only booths to have all female recruiters, many of whom were in IT jobs. We met for lunch to compare notes on our favorite sessions and spent hours discussing what we had learned. Some of my colleagues were from Charlotte, and some from other departments and teams across the company I had never worked with before. There are always new people to meet!
My main takeaway was from Dr. Sue Black. She started #techmums after putting herself through school as a lower-income, single mom of three kids. She said that if each of us help a mother learn to love computer science, over 30,000 lives would be affected because every mother’s gain represents the gain of at least two people in the world, herself and her child. I left feeling proud of what Vanguard does for all the women who work here – just like the speakers at Grace Hopper, they too are brilliant, creative women who use their passion to solve world problems and make a difference every day.
If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
After graduating from college in May, I began my career with Vanguard as part of the Financial Advisor Development Program (FADP). FADP is designed to develop the skills, knowledge, and attributes of recent college graduates to prepare them for a career within Personal Advisor Services (PAS) at Vanguard. As part of the program, FADP participants sit for the CFP® Certification Exam within the first few months. Overall, I felt confident, but a little uneasy about sitting for the exam so soon. My schooling had prepared me well, but I felt like I needed to brush up on some of the material.
Studying for the exam
As I was finishing up my college career, I often wondered how I was going to find time to study for the exam while working full time, making time for my wife and two kids, and volunteering outside of work. When I interviewed for different firms, I always made sure to ask what they could do to help me pass the CFP® Exam. Almost every response was the same – I would have to find the time outside of work to self-study. I would also have to purchase study materials and pay for the exam fees on my own. Occasionally, a firm would offer to reimburse the exam fee if I passed.
Vanguard’s FADP offers a completely different experience.
Vanguard provides FADP participants six weeks of fully paid time to prepare for the exam – my only job was to study. Six weeks, at about 40 hours per week, gave me around 240 paid hours of study. This was a huge opportunity and a key factor to passing the exam. Not to mention, my wife and kids were happy that I could still be around for them in the evenings. Having uninterrupted study time for six full weeks while maintaining a personal life was critical to my passing score. I was so relieved to find something that fit me and my personal situation, I finally felt like a firm recognized what was important to me.
Supporting my preparation
Vanguard’s help didn’t stop at just allowing me the time to study — they also gave me all of the books and related materials needed to pass the test. I had access to books on all the test topics, online access to quiz banks, practice tests, and even videos. Each topic was covered thoroughly, along with test tips, which I couldn’t have known by merely reading a textbook. To top it off, Vanguard also took care of all my exam fees. This type of exam preparation course would have been a huge cost and financial burden had I purchased it on my own, especially as a recent college graduate. You could imagine what a relief it was to know that I could focus fully on passing the exam.
Probably one of the most beneficial things when prepping for the exam, was the full access to experienced and knowledgeable instructors and crewmembers from Vanguard. If I had issues finding an answer to a question or was having difficulty with a concept, they were always there to help. I also had access to those who had already passed the exam, such as my immediate supervisor, a CFP® certificant who passed the exam last year. He provided much encouragement and support throughout my exam prep. Additionally, we were able to pick the brains of current financial advisors for Vanguard, who acted as mentors and tutors throughout the program. I was able to meet with them at designated times throughout the week and ask questions about test topics.
After having gone through the exam prep process and passing the exam, I feel FADP provided me with every resource available to set me up for success. Without Vanguard’s help, the outcome could have been very different. By having these materials, resources, and time to study, I felt confident going into the exam on test day. Vanguard understands that if I succeed, the company succeeds.
To learn more about the Financial Advisor Development Program, check out this blog from program participant Sara Beth and watch the video below. And if you’re ready for a more rewarding, engaging, meaningful career, check out our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.