Unlike Phileas Fogg, I did not go around the world in eighty days.
I did get to work across three different groups as part of my company’s rotational program.
Over the course of one year, I worked across product management, fund administration, and client management. The foundation to my career, I delivered on each assignment, establishing relationships along the way and leaving things better than they were.
Ultimately, I took away one key phrase: you get what you give. And that is how you make the most out your rotational program.
Starting off: Coming from an internship in investment banking, I was ready to hit the group running; however, the slower pace of corporate life came as a surprise. Initially caught off guard, I spent the first few weeks settling into my position, doing the work, reading all that I could get my hands on, and creating a list of people I wanted to speak with to learn more about their functions.
All of this eventually came in handy. Instead of waiting for opportunities to come to me, I sought them out myself, be it by making myself known to others within the company, taking on additional projects, or leading an initiative as part of an employee resource group (the corporate equivalent of a university club).
There can always be room for improvement
Four months is a short amount of time to learn a business, but enough time to build a baseline understanding of the functions, work with different team members, and improve existing processes.
Coming in as a fresh graduate, I made myself a sponge, absorbing information while shadowing members of the fund administration team,
As I learned how to do the work, I began thinking of ways to do them better. Leveraging my experience working with Excel macros in a past internship, I used my free time to play around with the macro recorder, copying processes and playing around with the VBA code to customize it for each task. With the help of many Google searches, I eventually created a set of macros that automated various daily activities, demoing them to the team for use even after I moved on to my next rotation.
They can use some help
In my next rotation, I worked with a neighboring team in project management and gained experience on top of what I was doing on the client management team.
Sitting close to a team of project managers, one who was involved in the management of the rotational program, I viewed this as an opportunity to learn more about a different group. Initially, I interacted with the team, learning more about their function and current projects in-fight. Eventually, I asked if I could help out.
After getting approval from my rotation manager, I started helping the team plan a client visit, learning skills in event planning, process, and coordination.
One ask, and I got to experience a “mini-rotation” on top of my three assignments.
The Opportunities Are Out There
Serving as an event lead for my company’s Asian Heritage Month celebration was not something I sought out, but turned out to be one of the best experiences of my rotational program.
Volunteered by my program mentor, I co-lead an events committee to plan three events for the Asian employee resource group. At the age of 22, I delegated tasks to colleagues double my age. Supported by a great team, we hosted a panel event with over 100 attendees (and I even got to invite someone I looked up to as a speaker). Faced with the task of delivering these events, I emerged more confident than ever.
Bottom Line: A rotational program is a unique experience, offering a breadth of experience in a short period of time. Each rotation can be thought of as just a temporary assignment, but they can also be viewed as opportunities to make a mark. Leverage this platform, because the more you put in, the more you get out.
P.S. My experience in the rotational program also played a huge part in landing my current job, in addition to side projects.