Interview

What attracted you to Key, and why did you ultimately decide to intern for us?

Key is iconic in Cleveland – growing up, one of my earliest memories is visiting a Key branch to set up a savings account. Since then, I saw the red key everywhere in the city and suburban communities, which speaks to Key’s dedication to helping clients thrive. To me, that is an attractive quality for an employer to have, and the more I learned, the more I felt this was the place for me.

Key recruiters were very transparent about potential career paths and what to expect from the internship. We had very real conversations about my aspirations and the value that I could bring to Key, and vice versa. The transparency and authenticity weren’t something I was finding from other big companies. I was also excited about Key because it was evident that I would be working on meaningful projects that would prepare me for the business world beyond my school curriculum.

What did you like most about Key's intern program?

It was a no brainer for me to return for a second internship. I kept coming back and HR kept giving me more skills and opportunities. Key is a large enough company to offer many opportunities, but small enough to personalize the experience and not let you get lost in the shuffle. The way the program is structured is very well organized and, from my experience, personalized. At first, I had a research background peppered with an operational HR experience and then developed more “hard skills” in grad school – each time, Key recognized my experiences and asked me what area I wanted to explore, pairing me with teams that built on my skills and gave me exposure to new areas. The fact that they took the time to learn about me and match me for the benefit of my career was above and beyond what I expected.

Also, I've found that Key leaders provide a safe space to throw out ideas. There's an openness to take the time to provide insights and perspective in a way that is constructive. As interns, we often expect our ideas to be immediately shut down. In this internship I found appreciation for my ideas and concern around making sure I'm deriving meaning from what I do and that I fully understand how my work impacts others and the business. That type of personal and professional development is priceless.

I recommend that future Key interns take advantage of the relationship-building aspect of this program. This is a unique opportunity to get to know other business professionals. The people here are accessible and make themselves available if you take the initiative to reach out.

What types of projects did you work on?

There were two big capstone projects that I participated in. First, I proposed an HR dashboard that contained info that business partners could use to inform business decisions using HR data and people analytics. This was my first time working with big data in the real world. I helped build a prototype with other interns and formed recommendations based on the knowledge we'd collected. It was a very cross-functional experience and a great opportunity to get to know other interns. I even circled back to what I learned in this project when I built a business-specific HR dashboard during my rotation.

I also contributed to the Enterprise Onboarding Experience project. That was interesting work. There were so many stakeholders in making this process work for all groups throughout the enterprise. As a team, we had to be thoughtful. This experience underscored the importance of teamwork and breaking down silos between businesses – we had to gather perspectives from across the company because what works for one group may not work for another. Working cross-functionally as an intern helps you learn about the realities of achieving results in business.

What is Key's culture like?

I was afraid of getting put in a box in a corporation and concerned about how my personality would play at a bank. It's important to me to be myself but still be able to grow professionally. Key’s focus on authenticity and “bringing your authentic self to work” helped me to build confidence.

It's a very midwestern culture. We are a community and people-focused. It's not a big bank atmosphere where everyone feels like they must have perfect haircuts and high heels. I feel a lot of warmth from leadership and a buzz of positivity. Key leaders are good at emphasizing authentic leadership and inspiring movement towards a collective vision. Key focuses not only on what you do but how you do it. Diversity and inclusion is a real focus. We know we have a long way to go, and the focus on building a diverse culture is really kept top-of-mind. Thinking of others is an important piece for me.

How has Key contributed to your career development?

A lot of my friends were frustrated with their jobs after college and graduate school, even when they were making the “big bucks." Maybe that's normal when you're first starting out, but I'm fortunate to say I love going to work every day. I have frequently taken a front-row seat to strategy and business conversations. Everyone knows my name. Leadership stops by my desk to see how I'm doing. I don’t think you'll find a more personalized internship anywhere, and the rapid growth of my career has been outstanding.

Key is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.