How Early-Career Employees Can Contribute To Major Company Initiatives

WayUp Team
How Early-Career Employees Can Contribute To Major Company Initiatives
Sponsored by, BlackRock

BlackRock is one of the biggest, most recognizable investment management firms in the world. The company employs thousands of people to manage—and this is meant literally—​trillions of dollars’ worth of assets.

It also creates technology that financial advisors and global organizations rely on every day. Yet there’s something else BlackRock does that might surprise you: It empowers recent college graduates to have a real impact on the business. The company really wants its early-career employees to contribute in a meaningful way.

Curious? We spoke with four recent graduates to learn more about their experiences.


Up On The Big Screen: Leanna Zhan, Software Engineering Analyst, San Francisco

Just six months into her first job after college at BlackRock, Leanna Zhan was approached by the senior leader on her team. She wanted Leanna’s input on the design of a web portal for one of the company’s new products.

What at first might seem like a simple ask ultimately became something entirely different. Why? Leanna ended up spearheading the project.

Though she had studied and worked with user interface/experience before, Leanna was entrusted with a much more expansive project than she expected. BlackRock bet on her—and it really paid off. Leanna ended up creating the framework for the internal web portal after tirelessly crafting designs, testing different versions, and compiling feedback from users and teammates.

As if that wasn’t enough, Leanna put together the company’s first “Take Your Parents to Work Day” in San Francisco. She also created new content displayed to employees throughout the office. How can future analysts have the same impact? To address this, Leanna created the company’s first analyst network, paving the way for analysts to stay connected and build a community of future leaders.

Numbers On The Board: Ed Li, Strategic Product Management Associate, New York

Ed Li, a recently promoted associate with a programming background, was just a few months into his job at BlackRock when he was asked to work on a project to help create a tool to analyze data across his department.

This tool helps compile data from different sources and generates summary metrics into a centralized database. Though he was only a few months into his job, Ed designed and tested parts of the program that are actually used today by people at all levels in his department.

How does Ed see his impact on the company? Every time a senior leader uses the new database, he reflects upon the significant contribution he made to bring it to life.


The Vision of “Project Vision”: Dennis Given, Software Engineering Associate, Digital Wealth, San Francisco

Managers typically might be cautious before giving big assignments to brand new employees. But Dennis’s team at BlackRock trusted him.

He was tasked with working on a big, multi-year, firm-wide project—aptly-titled “Project Vision”—that required moving an entire portfolio management platform to BlackRock’s very own Aladdin platform. With this new function being uploaded into Aladdin, things like the portfolio construction tool performed at a slower, less efficient rate. Thanks to Dennis and the rest of the development team in San Francisco, they cut the tools’ load time to less than half of the original load time.

Just six months into his career, “Project Vision” showed Dennis that “BlackRock is a true champion of investing in those who are willing to put in the time to contribute.” 

Sell, Sell, Sell! Christianne Johnson, Investment Management Associate, Princeton

Christianne Johnson, part of the Relationship Management & Sales area of the firm, also had a major impact on the firm early-on in her career. However, for Christianne, it wasn’t about building a product. It was about selling it.

It was up to her, in her first job out of college, to help financial advisors understand how to use BlackRock’s iRetire platform. She worked nonstop teaching financial professionals and experts about something new. Contacting close to 500 advisors to help them adapt to BlackRock’s platform is no easy task for a person of any experience level, let alone a freshly employed college student.

Now, iRetire is one BlackRock’s flagship technologies and is routinely used by financial advisors. Having helped create the foundation of iRetire’s user base, Christianne’s impact is far-reaching.

So, do you want to work for a company that actually enables its early-career employees to make a real difference? Check out BlackRock’s open positions on WayUp, and apply now!

About BlackRock

BlackRock is a global investment firm, trusted to manage more assets than any other. Their clients are companies, governments, foundations, and millions of individuals saving for retirement, their children’s educations, and a better life. They are passionate about providing products and services that can help them build a strong financial future. BlackRock’s employees from around the globe are students of the market and students of technology, respectfully anti-bureaucratic, and innovative at the core.