Schwab’s Intern Academy is an annual program held every summer that provides a unique opportunity to current juniors and seniors in college who are seeking an internship. With many different business tracks to choose from, current students will participate in a specific business track that aligns to their degree or career interests while working on projects that make real impact on the business and creating lasting relationships with other students and teammates.
One of those students who participated in Schwab’s Intern Academy is Dominique S., a Business Analytics graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder and an intern turned full-time Schwabbie. Dominique interned at Schwab in 2019 in the Lone Tree, Colorado office and received a full-time offer after her internship. Since returning to Schwab full-time in June of 2020, she has reached almost two years in her career in Digital Services. Want to know more about how her career has advanced at Schwab? Keep reading!
How did you hear of the internship program at Schwab? What track and location did you intern in?
Dominique: I heard about the Schwab internship through recruiters who came in for a lunch and learn that I attended. I interned in the Lone Tree office outside of Denver and I was in the Digital Services business track.
What were some of the most important things you learned throughout your internship experience?
Dominique: I think the biggest thing was learning what a Product Manager really is. When I studied in college, I learned a lot of data analytics programs, such as SQL, and Python and Tableau, but I was never really taught to apply it into the real world. When I interned in Digital Services, I learned what a Product Manager is, the day-to-day business role, and the cross collaboration with Schwab’s technical teams. Each day as an intern, I attended stand-ups or daily check-in meetings with the development team and I learned how to create user stories to help the development team do the task that they needed to do that related to business projects. So overall, the biggest thing I learned was truly, what a Product Manager does in their day-to-day and how can I apply what I'm learning in the classroom to a professional workspace.
If you had other internship or work experiences before Schwab, what was different about your internship experience at Schwab?
Dominique: I did have other internship experiences prior to Schwab, but I would say the difference between other internships I did and Schwab was the takeaways and impact going from classroom to life experience. The internships that I had at other companies or government agencies were more of your day to day – they made sure you had fun, you did all the cool stuff, but I didn’t think at the end, ‘What did I take out of this internship that I can apply?’ I felt that when I interned at Schwab it was more hands on with shadowing and seeing how does an actual company work. I felt like as an intern at Schwab, I was an actual employee working and had a stake. I wasn’t just doing paperwork or being behind the scenes.
What is your current role at Schwab now and where are you located?
Dominique: I'm in Austin, TX and I was originally given my offer to the office in Lone Tree, CO. I love Colorado, but I've lived there for 12 years so I wanted to explore other cities. I’ve been at Schwab for almost two years and I started in June of 2020. I actually graduated and then two weeks later, I drove down to Austin.
I am still in Digital Services on the same team, so I’m a Data Integration Services Product Manager. As an intern, I was doing and learning what it is like to be a Product Manager and now I actually am a Product Manager! So, my day to day is I own a product, which is the Schwab.com site in particular. We do the backend data that shows your brokerage account, your retirement, your equity awards, all those accounts that you see on Schwab.com, we send that data and that’s dealt with by my team.
Since your internship, how has your career progressed at Schwab? How has Schwab supported you with leadership and training and development?
Dominique: I would say what I did in my internship is 10% of what I do today. I fully grew into that Product Management role where I've taken ownership as a product owner and I speak to different stakeholders every single day from internal stakeholders, to external vendors of Schwab as well. I am one of the younger Product Managers on my team as well, but Schwab offers a lot of trainings, especially outside just Digital Services including trainings for how to be better at PowerPoints or how to communicate, how to be better at organizing, and understanding your goals, for your team and for yourself.
I've been a part of a lot of engagement teams too, so I have been a part of engagement teams within Digital Services that allows me to help create events or do fun activities within Digital Services or even create a buddy program. I helped launch a buddy program within my org so for new employees, they could have a buddy to help them better understand what it’s like to be within Digital Services.
Lastly, Schwab offers so many opportunities for mentorship, so I'm a part of a few mentorship programs from the Digital Services mentorship program to an Employee Resource Group called WINS (Women’s Interactive Network at Schwab), and also I found my own personal mentor that's not even within my org just to understand what it's like to grow my career here at Schwab.
Do you feel like you were supported transitioning from an intern to a full-time employee?
Dominique: Yes, I did and it was definitely easier staying on my same team. The business unit I was in had a buddy program where when I came in, I was with a senior manager for nine weeks and he helped me go through the onboarding process and helped me with any questions I had within Schwab, Digital Services, and also my team, so that was nice being able to have someone right off the bat to talk to. I was definitely supported through the onboarding process, especially being in a pandemic, where everyone's working from home and you don't have face to face interactions. Both Schwab and the Digital Services team did a really great job to make sure I stayed engaged and had work to do.
For other interns who are getting ready to start their internship at Schwab (or another company) what advice would you give to them? How can they be successful in their internship?
Dominique: I would say to be a sponge. You're in a situation in an internship where I think everyone thinks, ‘I just need to keep my head down, do my work, and hopefully at the end of this, get a job’. But you also have to be able to learn what your internship is about, learn the people that you're interacting with, and foster those relationships which includes being a sponge and taking up as much information and asking a lot of questions. I think informational interviews are important. A lot of interns kind of stay in their bubble, so they just reach out to their team, which is fine, but if you really want the true experience and to understand other opportunities within Schwab or another company, you should really try to do informational interviews outside of your team.
I also did informational interviews with people that were on different levels like senior managers, directors, or executives, but also those who maybe are two years out of college so I can understand if I see myself here in two years, and where people are at two to three years out of their career.
To have a successful internship I’d look for the mentorship opportunities, really be a sponge, and try to learn because I think at the end of the day yes, it's an internship and at that internship you're hoping to get a job, but it’s also an experience and an interview process while being a great way to learn what you like, what you don't like, and have opportunities for you to grow during the internship process and take some valuable skills out of it.
Where do you hope to see your career in the next 5 years?
Dominique: I try to find a lot of leadership opportunities and I have found mentorship opportunities where I have a mentor and I'm hoping I can eventually become a mentor myself. I'm hoping in five years I can be given the opportunity to be a people leader at Schwab. I might also consider getting my MBA and Schwab has a tuition reimbursement program, so I want to take advantage of that as getting my graduate degree is very important to me to further my career. Lastly, I’d like to continue to foster the relationships and understand the people above me to hopefully continue to learn from people that have progressed in their career that are older than me and get as much information from them, but then also give back to those who are younger than me maybe starting their career.