By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
When Catherine Xiong, a Colangelo Scholar leader at Grand Canyon University, first heard about a full-day opportunity to explore Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment companies, she knew she had to take a chance for her peers.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, it would be so good for our Colangelo Scholars to go as a group and get to know more about a corporate environment,’” said Xiong, a senior majoring in finance and economics. “I love, love, love numbers and I enjoy doing math a lot, so I want to seek my passion and continue learning.”
Almost immediately, Xiong got to work with the Career IMPACT Center and Honors College program managers Aysha Bell and Luke Amargo to plan, coordinate and host a five-hour “College to Corporate Workshop” at the 500,000-square-foot campus in Scottsdale. Nearly 36 Colangelo Scholars and Honors students took part in Vanguard Explore Day.
There, they met and networked with Vanguard leaders, GCU alumni who have been hired by Vanguard, and professionals who helped them envision careers and opportunities post-graduation.
Investment-management companies such as Vanguard value, recognize and want more students with Xiong’s ambition and talent to contribute to the global industry leader, Bell said.
Bell, who led the group of students to the campus, said Vanguard was extremely impressed with the caliber of students at GCU.
"Our students looked so professional, they were extremely prepared and Vanguard had that exact same takeaway," she said.
Bell said the goal of the event was “to help students see what positions are available to them (at Vanguard), tour the site and gain more knowledge about the benefits they offer.”
She added, "It can be intimidating when you are transitioning into the workplace. Therefore, it’s important for our students to see that there are established, reputable organizations who are interested in our GCU grads right where they are."
Breanna Naegeli, Honors College Assistant Dean, said the exploratory event "is a phenomenal way for students to engage with impactful, industry leaders within the community. These opportunities further allow our students to put theory into practice by getting hands-on experience in the workplace gave them insight into how to prepare and maximize their college careers and education to obtain their professional goals."
Business management major Riley Harshbarger was most impressed with the firm’s inclusive culture – which promotes career growth.
"It’s all happening and it is happening fast," Harshbarger said. "I noticed that a lot of people here are very young and got their start right out of college. Some have held four different positions in five years and keep moving up. There are so many different departments that you can easily maneuver to and figure out where your best fit is."
He added, "I think that GCU definitely has its hand in a lot of places, and that is so unique to the students because Vanguard is an actual example of what I want to do with my life. You can read textbooks, Google online, watch movies and TV shows, but there is nothing like being there and seeing where you could be in two or three years."
Xiong was happy to see how active and engaged her peers were while they toured the facility.
Angela Bratt felt the same way.
"GCU students came with lots of questions, which in some cases seemed to have an impact on Vanguard employees," she said.
Bratt, who is already working to submit an application for an internship this summer, said the experience made her feel appreciative of Vanguard.
"I’m excited and support what Vanguard does," she said.
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or [email protected]