The 10 weeks of our new WEX summer intern program have concluded, and by all reports it’s been a resounding success. In addition to giving interns a meaningful work experience, one of our top goals was to convert rising seniors into full-time WEX employees. We’re pleased to share that five employment offers have been accepted so far.
“My manager had been hinting that there would be a place for me here after I graduate from Thomas College next year, and of course I was very interested. It still took me by surprise when I was called into his office to get some of the best news I’ve ever received!” said Jacob Gregoire following his acceptance of a full-time position with us. “What drew me to WEX was the innovation, but what made me want to pursue a career here were the people. Though I might have just held the title of an intern, I was treated as a valued member of the information security team. I can’t wait to have a larger role and make an impact on the future success of WEX.”
Making a Real Contribution
Interns brought their considerable talents to WEX teams in South Portland including IT, sales, legal, information security, HR, corporate development, product development, finance, international and more. During their time with us, all interns worked with experienced senior professionals on projects with real impact on our business and customers.
“I love how we were given meaningful work, and I really felt like I had a place in the community and my team. This summer I was given a variety of tasks that are important to the tax department, as well as the company as a whole,” observed Sarah Huber, who returned this year for her second internship with us. She also notes that the projects she worked on allowed her to showcase her accounting skills and gain real-world experience in the field.
Interning with our new business ventures, strategy and innovation team, Jordon Castonguay worked on many projects researching economic trends in specific technology verticals. In that role, he also had the chance to collaborate with our tax and finance teams for his research on the electric vehicle market and the implications that electric vehicle technology may have for motor tax structures in the future.
“I was able to learn a lot of practical skills and develop my analytical thinking. I also got my first exposure to accounting, which I think will be extremely beneficial as I continue my career. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of my internship was being able to see first-hand how a multinational corporation functions from an organizational standpoint,” said Castonguay of his experience.
“Sarah and Jordon were phenomenal interns and they both brought incredible amounts of intellectual horsepower and flexibility to my team. For some, tax technical complexity compounded by ambiguity can be overwhelming, but Sarah and Jordon were able to handle it. I would go so far as to say that they were at their best when they were presented with challenging work,” said International Tax Manager Desmond Gilliard of their time working with him and his team.
The Rave Reviews Continue
Each of our 31 interns had a chance to make a three-minute presentation to our executive leadership team outlining the projects he or she worked on over the summer and their impact on the company. The executive team was clearly impressed by the caliber of work done by the interns and the fact that each did something that will add value here at WEX.
“I was so pleased to see and feel the energy and passion that the interns brought to their final presentations. They demonstrated their commitment to high quality work and a dedication to their respective positions. They loved being part of the WEX culture and seemed to have genuinely enjoyed their time with us – nearly as much as we enjoyed having them here,” observed Hilary Rapkin, SVP and general counsel of the interns’ project presentations.
Intern program coordinator Gimbala Sankare also observes that interns often bring a fresh perspective to a project. The way they think about and process their work may be completely different than some of their more seasoned coworkers. Ultimately, he notes, the interns showed how innovation is stimulated when you get everyone working together to address a problem.
Planning For 2018
Before the last intern left the building, Sankare and his team were already at work planning for next year’s program. The first step was hosting a July open house for representatives from the 15 schools where we recruited this year’s interns. Attendees had a chance to tour our headquarters, meet with some of our senior leadership, have lunch with the interns and meet with Brigitte Emmons-Touchette, our director of global talent acquisition, and Jim Pratt, SVP and general manager of virtual payments, to discuss what the future of talent looks like at WEX.
“We want to build strong, long-lasting relationships with the schools where we recruit so we can continue to get the caliber of students we want for our program. To be successful, we need to ensure that when a student goes to an administrator or faculty at school and says ‘I’m looking for an internship,’ the first thing that comes to mind is WEX,” says Sankare.
Sankare is also looking at how to scale the intern program for implementation next year in our other U.S. offices. He notes that the four components of the curriculum created for this year – work, leadership interaction, community interaction and social activity – will stay in place for 2018. One change he does anticipate is customizing the social aspect of the program based on the culture of each office as we work to extend the program.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining our intern program, start checking the postings on our career page in late 2017 for our recruiting schedule. And keep in mind, the program is highly competitive and fills up quickly!