Two years ago, Michelle Scheuer was a full-time student looking for a flexible, remote internship that would provide meaningful work and take advantage of her experience. At first, she thought the WEX job posting was too good to be true. Not only could she work at home on a custom schedule and still be part of a multi-disciplinary QA team, but she would get to work on real projects that contributed to her learning goals.
Now a full-time software engineer here at WEX, Michelle says her high-quality internship experience was a key element in deciding to build her career at WEX. “I felt like I was a valued team member, and that wasn’t something that I experienced at my previous internship. WEX did an amazing job with a virtual summer internship program, and the team-building events were really fun!”
An example of team events is featured in the photo above of three interns, Madison Mitchell, Olivia Tighe, and Ben Stellhorn, during an intern lunch, held during the Summer of 2022 at the WEX headquarters.
Summer internship program at WEX
While each hiring manager structures the specific role, sets objectives, and supports interns day-to-day, interns have an extra level of support at WEX. The formal internship program curriculum includes a tour of all the functional areas, sessions with WEX's leadership team, a speaker series, and networking events. WEX's Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) help run the events, which have included virtual “in the kitchen with WEX” sessions and even a painting class. Interns from the company's marketing department create and publish an intern newsletter.
Jessica Houk, Director, Global Fleet Product Operations, actively seeks out opportunities to hire interns. “Interns bring novel perspectives, fresh ideas, and their own set of specialized strengths and skills which energize and revitalize our current environment,” she says. “Inexperience is actually an asset! Having young, hungry, growth-mindset energy around opens space for curiosity and self-reflection for our veteran team members, and strengthens tolerance for elasticity and innovation for all of us.”
WEX also runs an intern mentor program, involving its ERGs and employees who were former interns. Especially in a virtual environment where you can’t walk the hallways to absorb the vibe of a workplace, this program brings a one-to-one component to the internship that connects people with others who have similar backgrounds and/or share their professional interests.
Mohnish was hired after his internship and served as a mentor to other interns last year. “It's fascinating that you always find something new to learn from another person. Given the pandemic situation, we were able to only connect virtually, so I worked hard to make sure that they were comfortable sharing, expressing, and learning without any inhibitions,” he said.
Internships are a great way to get experience and grow professionally. “Just because someone is an intern doesn’t mean that they don’t possess the skills or knowledge to contribute to the team’s overall goals,” Michelle adds. “With the right support -- like frequent 1:1 meetings, an onboarding plan, and listening to any feedback they may have -- they may have ideas that can greatly improve a process.”
That is exactly the experience that hiring manager Jesse Cyr, Director of Strategic Partnerships, has had with interns at WEX. “I have been thoroughly impressed with the fresh perspective that interns have provided my sales team over the years. When our 2019 intern -- and current WEX employee -- Kensie Schumacker asked us why we do certain things in Salesforce, we didn't bristle, but rather embraced her recommendations for simplified entry and reporting, which allowed the team to focus more on selling and less time on administrative items.”
“We have learned that the future of the workforce is bright! Our pool of interns has been an incredible breath of fresh air with their work ethic, drive to learn, and emphasis on getting to know the team and the organization. Macy Williams, our 2021 intern and the current co-op has stepped up and assisted the sales team with everything from competitive research to organizing complex prospect data,” Jesse says.
WEX’s high ranking internship program
WEX's internship program has recently been ranked among some of the largest companies in the US. The company’s summer internship program gained a spot on the Top 100 internships list for 2023 with Vault, also known as Firsthand. Vault-Firsthand surveyed more than 12,000 current and former interns from more than 130 internship programs about their internship experiences. This survey asked a range of questions to gauge how inclusive and supportive the program is to their interns. Firsthand’s 100 Best Internships reflect the highest-rated internship programs across the survey pool. The 2023 rankings are based on the results of the 2022 Internship Survey conducted at the end of summer 2022. WEX ranked highly in various different categories with an impressive placement score of #45 out of 100 programs. It placed in the top five for three different categories: WEX ranked #4 in diversity, #4 for racial and ethnic diversity, and #5 LGBTQ + diversity. Continuing with the high ranking diversity program, WEX placed #6 in “diversity with respect to women.” In ranking by industry, WEX placed #7 among tech and engineering companies. Under the “best internships ranked by employment” factor of “quality of life,” WEX ranked #11 and #23 under “real-life experience.” WEX has dedicated significant time and energy into its internship program, and these rankings reflect the company’s core values and mission.
Why WEX invests in its paid internship program
Just like any hire, interns have a job description with specific objectives and deliverables. Interns at WEX participate in the mission-critical work of their department and team.
“There is a big opportunity to make an impact,” says Hannah Jabar, an early careers talent acquisition manager at WEX, and a former WEX intern. “Interns are given the space, training, and resources they need to provide solutions and solve problems. We want their perspectives. We want them to grow professionally and we expect the organization will benefit from their contributions, as it does with all employees.”
Hiring managers commit to making internships valuable, including helping interns make connections across the business. “I really felt like I was able to take charge of projects, and to dive deep by shadowing other teams and getting a view of the full picture,” says former intern Christine Ehrichs, Service Manager in WEX Health. “I engaged in a social media takeover and helped roll out a new knowledge base as an intern. My internship buddy showed me the ropes and introduced me to everyone on my new team.”
Mohnish Raj Ganesh reflects on his internship experience at WEX
Being part of a structured program with specific deliverables gives interns at WEX a unique perspective across the business. “Every day was a great learning experience with new and exciting challenges that kept me hooked and helped me build connections across WEX,” says former intern Mohnish Raj Ganesh, Data Analyst, Global Risk and Compliance. “People went out of their way to help me and collaborate with me, which amplified the overall experience.
“The WEX internship experience was an embodiment of the company’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, collaboration, and growth,” Mohnish said. “From travel and accommodation to lunch-and-learns with the executive leadership team, everything was taken care of and executed seamlessly. Endless support and opportunities from my team pushed me to take on initiatives and ownership of real projects, and helped me bridge the gap between academic knowledge and practical experience.”
Lessons learned by WEX interns
“Work-life balance was something I didn't think I would care about, but it ended up being really important to me. The flexibility to work remotely on a schedule that worked best for me really solidified my staying with WEX,“ Christine says.
Intern Olivia Tighe worked in a hybrid format throughout her internship and was able to meet most of her fellow interns regardless of their working location for the summer. Olivia says “Towards the end of the summer many of the interns had the opportunity to visit headquarters in person. It was great to be able to physically meet and connect after spending the summer collaborating with each other virtually. Despite working different jobs, a few of us came together to work on the intern newsletter and became good friends through that experience.”
Mohnish recalls that before his internship with WEX, he felt the need to have all the answers before getting started on something. “This often overburdened me with deadlines, pushing me into the burnout phase, and eventually impacted the quality of work being delivered. Working with my team at WEX, I soon realized that every job has a learning curve and taking an iterative approach allows room for feedback and learning, and propels growth. I continue to apply this to my work."
“Setting expectations and learning to say no were two key things that I didn't care much about before but soon realized they were very important to me. This has helped me deliver quality work and grow consistently,” Mohnish says.
“Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know something, and ask questions when you have them,” Michelle offers. “As an intern, you are taken seriously on your team. That is one of the major reasons why I stayed at WEX.”
Christine also advises being open to change. “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable! Our industries are constantly changing and we have to be ready to adapt at any time and learn anything as we go.”
Tailoring the WEX intern program to fit the needs of interns
Finding valuable internships at renowned companies can be difficult, especially when you want to find an internship that will allow you to learn and grow your career in a meaningful way. It is important to WEX to have a qualified pool of candidates for its internship program, and in turn, for WEX interns to feel they have the ability to choose a job that will bring them the most fulfillment. In order for an intern to maximize their experience working in an industry or company they see themselves working for in the future, it’s of great value to have an accurate understanding of what that job experience would be like. If a prospective employee has had an exceptional internship experience they’ll likely look to return for another internship or seek full time employment at the same company.
Forbes came out with an “Internship Wish List: The 12 Things Students Value Most,” which stated full-time employment was of the highest importance to those surveyed. After full-time employment, 42% of students wanted job orientation and training. Nearly 20% stated that challenging assignments were of the highest value to them, and 19% said flexible working conditions were the more important thing to them.
Nowadays, having the flexibility to choose the setting in which you want to work is more important than ever. The ability to choose between an in-person, remote, or hybrid work style has become a priority for many job seekers and varies depending on the individual. In addition to work style priority, interns are looking for opportunities to network and build relationships. Successful internship programs have created inclusive environments that cultivate a culture of growth and career development through intern events, mentorship opportunities, and cross-training experiences.
Learn more about the employee resource groups at WEX and use our Careers section to search for open roles and opportunities across the world. WEX has nine ERGs which serve as active communities, acting as touchpoints for various groups across WEX that share interests, cultures, identities, and backgrounds. These groups include: WEX NexGen, Women of WEX, Parents@WEX, WEXPride, WEXVets, Black Growth Council, WEXcessibility, Women in Tech @ WEX, and Latin X @ WEX.