When looking for a company that will start to grow your career, it is essential to look at everything it has to offer. Do they help in career development? Are there opportunities to connect with other employees? These are just a few of the questions that need to be considered when choosing your dream company.
One FinTech company that emphasizes the importance of career development and networking is BlackRock. At BlackRock, employees are given plenty of opportunities to network, develop professionally and celebrate diversity through employee networks. Employee networks are spaces where employees with common interests and / or backgrounds regularly gather for discussions, volunteer opportunities and networking.
To gain a deeper understanding of what BlackRock’s employee networks have to offer, we spoke with five early-career analysts about their experiences. Here’s what they had to say.
What initially attracted Jonathan Pisano to BlackRock was the company’s mission to help people experience financial well-being, which is very important to him.
Jonathan shared with us that his parents emigrated from Mexico hoping to build a better future for his family. “They sacrificed a lot for me to be here, so it was refreshing to see that a company like BlackRock had a goal that aligned with my family’s journey to something better,” Jonathan shared.
In the summer of his junior year at Washington University in St. Louis, Jonathan attended BlackRock’s Summer Analysts Program. During his internship, Jonathan became involved in as many employee networking events as he could. Taking the initiative, Jonathan partnered with a fellow summer analyst to design a networking event for his specialty group that aims to connect to the SOMOS Latinx Professionals and Allies Network (SLN) at BlackRock.
After a significant summer experience, Jonathan knew he wanted to return to Blackrock upon graduation. Jonathan is currently part of the Assimilation Team of America Clients, working as a portfolio application analyst. In his role, he guides stakeholders during new portfolio launches and changes to existing portfolios to ensure accurate and efficient delivery for BlackRock customers.
Beyond his role, Jonathan is also a member of SLN, the San Francisco Analysts Impact Committee, Annalist Alley and the Black Professionals and Allies Network (BPN). Through his involvement in these employee networks, he had the opportunity to learn more about the firm and formulate strong mentoring between departments.
With a bachelor’s degree in economics and accounting, Jonathan’s advice to students seeking their first job outside of college is, “Do not limit your career opportunities simply because your academic or professional background does not reconcile with what may be perceived as the traditional resume of this position.”
When Rachel Dai first heard about BlackRock, she was not sure she would fit into the financial services company.
Fortunately, Rachel still applied and was selected for the 2018 Summer Analysts Program when she was a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Now two years into her tenure at BlackRock, Rachel is on the global marketing team. It focuses on brand initiatives that have a global and broad impact and drive innovation by helping the marketing department adopt the latest marketing methods in content, digital and experiential development. Its team also helps all parts of the BlackRock organization solve marketing strategy issues by interfacing with each region and channel to coordinate, document, synthesize and communicate solid priorities.
When Rachel is not working on her marketing skills, she is a partner in leading the BlackRock branch in New York at Analysts Alley, where she helps create and host social and professional events for analysts. Rachel is also the world co-chair of Events and Social Influence for the Network of Professionals and Allies of Asia and the Middle East (AMP), and helps organize programming and engagement to ensure the community feels seen, heard and valued.
When asked what she likes most about working at BlackRock, Rachel said, “I appreciate that everyone at BlackRock has a voice – and has their own platform and way of exploiting and amplifying it … whether it’s work or out-of-school, the opinion of “Everyone is important. And holding weight, which makes it a great place to feel familiar and valued.”
Her advice to students interested in joining BlackRock is, “Try to understand your personal ‘why’, the ‘why’ and the role of BlackRock in society, and emphasize the connection between them.” She explained that doing this will help you create an unforgettable experience for both yourself and the interviewer.
In college, Kathleen Burkhardt was one of the few women in her engineering track. Now at BlackRock, she connects with many talented women in technology, product management and finance.
A graduate of the Chancellor Polytechnic Institute, Kathleen, first began her career at BlackRock as an intern in the summer analyst program. After graduating, she returned to BlackRock and began her full-time career as an analyst, where she moved between three teams before joining the UX engineering team.
Since joining the BlackRock community, Kathleen has been an active participant in a wide range of employee networks, including Analyst Alley, Abilities & Allies Network (ABN), Out & Allies Network (OUT), Women’s Initiative & Allies Network (WIN), and Women in Technology (WIT) . Through her involvement in these groups, Kathleen has found support for the WOMYN + Mentoring Program organized by OUT.
One of the most significant events in which Kathleen participated through BlackRock’s employee networks was the Summit of Lesbians Who Tech New York. Speeches were given at the event by Gloria Steinem, Jen Wong and many other influential figures in technology and business. While participating, Kathleen managed to connect with LGBTQ + women from BlackRock and other companies. “I am proud of the relationships I have been able to create and the ability to bring my full self to work through the Out & Allies network,” Kathleen said.
Kathleen’s advice for students interested in a career at BlackRock is not to be intimidated if you have no financial or business background and use your interview to highlight your technical abilities.
Villanova graduate, Zainab Oyavia, knew two things in her final year: she wanted to work in finance, and she wanted to do it in an office that prioritizes diversity, equality and inclusion.
So she found BlackRock Founders Scholarship Program, Which aims to bring diverse talent to the firm. After graduating from the summer analyst program, Zainab chose to return to full-time employment after graduation. Zainab currently operates iShares, the company’s listed ETF (ETF).
Through BPN and WIN, Zinab has met colleagues from various teams and areas across the firm. She believes she has not had the opportunity to meet such a wide range of employees, gain perspective on the firm and receive invaluable career advice without these networks.
One event that particularly influenced Zainab was BPN’s Black History Month panel of senior black professionals. She explained that the panelists had an honest dialogue about their various career paths and the obstacles they had to overcome along the way. “This event was especially significant for me because I believe representation is extremely important. Hearing the success stories of these senior leaders who look like me was very inspiring and motivating,” Zainab shared.
Her advice to students interested in a career at BlackRock is to stand out in the application process by emphasizing ways in which you have been innovative in and out of class. She also says to be yourself and let your personality shine in the interview process.
Just one year into his career at BlackRock, Auston Kennedy found his foothold in his career and exceeded his expectations.
Auston first heard of BlackRock while studying Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT). After one of his friends introduced him to the company, he participated in a program that exposed GT students to the office. He has left the program impressed and is interested in joining Blackrock full time.
Now, he’s at BlackRock’s Aladdin Customer service team, which he describes as both a diligent and supportive environment. In his role, Auston provides application support to users of BlackRock Aladdin’s proprietary investment management software. To date, his favorite project on the team has helped set up $ 1.8 billion in new funds for a client.
To date, Auston has participated in BPN and the Green Team Network (GTN), a network for employees interested in sustainability and the environment. Auston attributes the company’s resource and professional development groups to providing him with an incredible number of opportunities to strengthen his understanding of finance through online classes and lectures given by investment professionals.
Auston’s advice to students interested in working at BlackRock is to show a desire to learn all the time and be prepared for discomfort.
Why you should consider working at BlackRock
At BlackRock, employees are encouraged to bring their authentic selves to work and gain access to networks and opportunities that help advance their careers. BlackRock strives to create a better financial future for their customers, and they want to hire people who also believe in this goal. If you think BlackRock might be right for you, click here to learn more about their early career opportunities.