It was a Monday evening, unbearably warm and sticky, as Philadelphia tends to be in September. I was at field hockey practice and, coincidently, received a call just as I was checking my phone during a water break. It was the call I had been waiting for: I GOT IT. I got the Vanguard College to Corporate (C2C) IT internship.
The C2C IT Internship checked all of my boxes: mentoring, cutting-edge tech, AND close to home. But it was only September; the summer had just ended, and next summer seemed so far away. The Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing was approaching and I had been instructed by faculty at my school, “don’t accept ANY internship offers until after the conference.”
The day that the conference finally came, I woke up very early. My solo journey included a flight delay, gate change, lengthy taxi ride, and an even lengthier trek, in not so comfy shoes, from the lobby of my hotel across the skywalk and through the Orange County Convention Center. I decided my first stop would be the Vanguard booth. After some wandering up and down the long aisles of the massive room, I found it. I spotted Lynn C., a Vanguard rep from my interview day, who greeted me with a big smile and a warm hug. Believe me, I really needed that hug. She asked me my t-shirt size and showed me all the new “swag” they had gotten for the conference. I stood around chatting with crew in Vanguard’s Technology Leadership Program about my flight and where I was staying. They invited me to dinner the following night before I went on my own to explore.
Many of the other companies at the conference had displays that were massive and showy. I waited in a few lines, padfolio in hand filled with fresh print outs of my resume. I fielded questions about Java classes and my previous internship, and along the way collected some rather over-the-top giveaways. By late afternoon, my mind was made up. I had already attended numerous talks by Vanguard representatives at my school, in addition to two Explore IT Days at their headquarters. I had spoken with multiple recruiters on the phone, and spent the day on campus interviewing. I knew the company’s core purpose, and I knew about their strong emphasis on crew. But hearing about it and feeling it are two completely different things. At many of the other companies I felt like a number holding a list of my accomplishments and capabilities. But Vanguard cared about me, a person. After only a few hours at the conference, I accepted my offer with Vanguard.
I spent my summer internship in Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services. When I met my manager, Judy, she told me I would be a part of Team Unicorn. She assured me that I would come to understand the name after getting to know its members and seeing their work ethic. Lucky for me, I was included in their project and was able to participate in daily ideation, planning, and working sessions. Right away I found myself writing code that will soon go into production, and participated in a biweekly book club and in the teams monthly “game day” during lunch. A mantra of Team Unicorn is “work hard, play hard,” as each team member places high value on maintaining positive interactions with each other. Now that I had my internship, with work that was engaging and a friendly, supportive team, I feel so strongly that I made the right decision at the Grace Hopper Conference last year.
If you enjoyed this post and want to learn more, visit us at this year’s Grace Hopper Conference! And if you’re ready for a more rewarding, engaging, meaningful career, search our opportunities at www.vanguardjobs.com.
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.
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!
The search for an internship can be a very intimidating process. There are always a number of questions to consider: Will this experience be beneficial down the road? Are interns considered for a full-time roles after the conclusion of the internship? If so, what makes the company one that people would want to work for? Here, some of the 2017 Charlotte interns weigh in on finding Vanguard:
NC State University | Computer Science | Winston-Salem, NC | IT– Global Investment Systems
I heard about Vanguard through a career fair held by my department of studies at college last fall where I got the chance to meet some of my future coworkers. Like many students outside the business school, I did not know Vanguard existed, let alone that they are leaders in the financial industry. This stems from the fact that Vanguard spends very little on advertising; rather, they rely on referrals from satisfied investors. That knowledge alone tipped me off that Vanguard would offer a full and enriching internship experience.
UNC-Chapel Hill | Computer Science & Information Science | Charlotte, NC | IT-Retail
My path to Vanguard was unique from other interns. I first heard about the great opportunities here through an email from my school’s career services that talked about an IT Career Explore day at Vanguard (a day to learn about Vanguard and its work with technology). I attended this event in Charlotte, which in turn led me to apply for the internship and receive an offer for a phone interview. After this, I was invited to a day-long interview event at the Charlotte offices where I really realized that interning at Vanguard would be an amazing opportunity – and that realization has definitely turned out to be true!
USC-Columbia | Finance | Cross, SC | Business – Human Resources
My search for an internship was definitely a process helped by the support of Vanguard representatives. My university held a career exposition on campus, where representatives from Vanguard attended. I noticed that everyone I spoke with from Vanguard were very approachable and welcoming, which immediately captured my attention and interest in learning more about the company and the opportunities they offered. After further connecting with a representative, she recommended I look into the C2C Internship program, which turned out to be the best decision yet!
BYU-Idaho | Software Engineering | Sugar Hill, GA | IT- Retail
A friend of mine completed their internship at Vanguard and later joined full-time. After speaking with him, I learned a few things about Vanguard. During the internship, it’s apparent that Vanguard cares about collaboration, fostering a positive work environment, having a real work experience, and providing great networking opportunities. Work-life balance has always been a priority to me, which is difficult in the IT space, but Vanguard allows for both meaningful work and personal life. That means I can enjoy my work and the things I love outside of the office. After experiencing Vanguard for five weeks, I can confidently say that my internship has been a satisfying, enriching experience.
UNC-Chapel Hill | Computer Science & English Literature | Cary, NC | IT- Retail
My first interaction with Vanguard was at a university career fair. Later that fall, I was able to attend the Grace Hopper conference in Houston and I met more Vanguard representatives and interviewed for this internship. Vanguard’s commitment to adopting the best technology for its mission appealed to me, as well as the broad scope of projects they work on. My favorite part of the summer so far has been trying new technologies and roles as a part of my team.
Tim Birbeck, Chief of Staff for Vanguard’s Information Technology and Security division, didn’t plan to be in IT. He wanted to be a plumber. After all, it was the profession of the main character in his favorite video game. And like his hero, he wanted to chase bad guys, travel new worlds, and save the day. That was, until he learned that he could actually make his own video games, which started a lifelong passion for technology that still exists today. Tim shared this story, among others, with students attending Techies Day at Vanguard – an event designed to expose high school students to technology careers.
“IT is seen as being heads down, but I believe we are the most collaborative field in the world.” Tim told the students. He described Vanguard’s culture as being team oriented, and shared that IT crew have diverse career options – including software development, security, or infrastructure. In his current role, Tim gets to do what interests him the most – he loves gadgets, he likes figuring out how things work, and he has opportunities to polish his skills in non-IT areas, including leadership. In fact, he works closely with senior leaders and has exposure to their expertise and guidance.
The Techies Day event is designed for students at a key moment in their young adult lives – they’re researching continuing education options, exploring fields of study, and contemplating future careers. They are also starting to think about the kind of employer they want four years from now. For most students, that means a place where they are not only permitted to move between roles, but are actually encouraged to seek out other positions, take on new challenges, and enhance current skills. During their time at Vanguard, students had the opportunity to try on different roles with sessions focused on Big Data & Analytics, Enterprise 2.0 (a project aimed at integrating web tools into the workplace), and Security and IT. In these interactive discussions, students completed hands on activities where they got to see how it really felt Student with 360 headsetto be a product owner or engineer. They also heard speakers, visited a Tech Expo, and asked lots of questions.
Most importantly, the students learned that if they choose to come to Vanguard, they too will spend their days building new things, solving problems, and conquering new worlds.