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How T. Rowe Price is Jumpstarting Tech Careers for Gen Z
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This article was written by Mahlet Yared and originally published on Blavity.com.

When Cecil Hunter spotted a beautiful, vintage Ford in a parking lot, he knew he had to introduce himself to the owner and admire the maintenance of the vehicle. Little did he know that a conversation about cars would lead him to a fulfilling internship and offer to start his tech career at T. Rowe Price.

As far as internships go, many computer science majors might not imagine starting their tech career at an investment management firm. But these days, every company is a tech company and T. Rowe Price has maintained its reputation as an early leader in bringing technology and innovation to financial services.

T. Rowe Price’s internship program brings in a cohort of interns who join several of the firm’s departments for the summer. But the internship is not weeks of busy work and meaningless activities. The cohort of interns is invited to start growing their career skill set from day one. With impactful and cutting-edge projects, as well as being integrated into the warm culture of the firm, T. Rowe Price interns leave the summer internship excited about the opportunity to return and join full-time after graduation.

We spoke with current T. Rowe Price intern, Cecil Hunter, and former intern-turned-associate, Jayson Thomas, to hear more about their journeys fueling their career goals through internships.

What attracted you to T. Rowe Price and their internship program?

Cecil Hunter: It wasn’t the usual way, let’s put it that way. I’m in a parking lot and I see this beautiful 1978 Ford Mustang. This car is beautiful, I need to see who owns this. Sure enough, a man is walking back, and I ask him if the car is his. He says yes. I told him how beautiful the car is and how I loved the way he maintained it. He asked where I go to school and what I study. I told him I study computer science. He asked more about my experience and told me he worked with T. Rowe Price, gave me his card, and told me I should apply to the internship program. I had a couple of friends who interned, and I had heard good things about it!

Jayson Thomas: I started at T. Rowe Price as a contractor when I was a junior in college. Through that doorway, I was introduced to T. Rowe Price and their culture. Three months into the contractor job, I learned about the upcoming summer internship program and asked my hiring manager at the time to reach out on my behalf. [My hiring manager] put in a word for me, I got an interview, and [was accepted to] the summer internship program.

What was your academic/professional background before joining T. Rowe Price? What are your personal career goals?

Cecil: I’m currently a senior at Bowie State University planning to graduate in May. I’m a computer science major. As far as my goals, I wanted to learn how software development goes from beginning to end and how changes are made along the way. I wanted to learn how to develop software in a corporate environment.

Jayson: I attended UMBC [University of Maryland, Baltimore County] as a statistics major and economics minor. I went in with the intention of becoming an actuarial scientist, but once I went from a contractor to intern, I transitioned into more of a tech role. Getting to work with Python and AWS at T. Rowe Price shifted my entire career trajectory, it showed me that I loved the problem solving that comes with development. [I secured a full-time role] as an Associate Software Engineer, but down the line I hope to combine the statistical side of what I studied with the problem solving, software development side of what I do at T. Rowe Price.

How would you describe the company culture at T. Rowe Price?

Cecil: Anytime I gave input on a [project], I felt that my feedback was of value. It didn’t feel like my work was insignificant. It felt like work that would be done by a full-time associate. Anytime I had something to say, I felt heard and included in valuable conversations about the project.

Jayson: I’ve learned just how much T. Rowe Price puts inclusion and community at the forefront of its priorities. During the initial internship, the program was quick to introduce the cohort to its vast number of support organizations. Every 2-3 weeks, a different leader at the firm would take time to host a call with the cohort, to explain their goals, activities and ways to help join and support them. This continued well after we were brought on full-time, which gives credence to just how many avenues that T. Rowe Price gives access to when you want to support both the work and outside community.

What surprised you about working at T. Rowe Price? Was your perception of the company the same once you got there?

Cecil: Biggest surprise was the significance of my work. I expected the cliche of the Hollywood intern coming in and bringing coffee. Albeit, I hadn’t had an internship prior, but that was a big surprise. Since I hadn’t had any prior experience, I was [encouraged] to use the team as a resource and I was not expecting that level of teamwork in a corporate environment – I was expecting a lot more pressure. Being able to bounce ideas off everyone in the intern cohort who were all in the same situation and undergoing the same learning curve was great. The work-life balance was amazing because my team was only in the office two days a week. It was so important to me to maintain my hobby and further my skill set to take my coding to the next level. The work-life balance allowed me to bring my learning experiences to experimentation on my own time.  

Jayson: The thing that surprised me the most was how relaxing and comfortable the work environment felt. My time as a contractor gave off the impression that T. Rowe Price was really "corporate"...but as an intern, the transition to a team where everyone was really chill despite the massive up-tick in the difficulty of the work was refreshing. I enjoy music and playing the guitar and I’m also a powerlifter outside of work. I find it really easy to balance, especially with hybrid work.

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