Sharpening skills, nurturing talent, inspiring passion, cultivating curiosity—these are what Freddie Mac’s University Program is all about. By offering several programs in different fields for students and recent graduates, including traditional internships, full-time analyst roles and rotational experiences, the program ensures there’s a way for every person to kick off and grow their career.
To learn more about the unique early-career experience at Freddie Mac, we spoke with Ayodele Maxwell who has been with the company for two years. After completing the Technology Analyst Program, Ayo started a full-time position at Freddie Mac on the System Analyst team. Now, she’s taking her next step with a new opportunity to work in Freddie Mac’s Modern Delivery program as a Product Analyst.
Freddie Mac’s Technology Analyst Program has provided immeasurable opportunities for Ayo’s professional growth.
Although there are several analyst programs dedicated to different fields, the technology program is a 12-month full-time cohort program designed for recent computer science, computer engineering, information security and general technology grads.
The program immerses you into specialized aspects of IT, giving you the opportunity to evaluate and create technologies that power the housing finance industry. For Ayo, the professional development component was the most impactful part.
“The Analyst Program set me up with the tools to succeed by providing mentors, allowing me to mentor incoming analysts and supplying the support system needed to transition from college to corporate.”
Hands-on learning and targeted training are integral aspects of each experience. Not only are you deepening your technical knowledge, but you’re also learning transferable skills that apply to every career path: leading people, analyzing business scenarios, building your personal brand and growing your network.
“My favorite thing about the Analyst Program was the cohort aspect. Every person in the program was going through the same or a similar transition, so it was great to have that support network. All of the projects I worked on helped me grow professionally in some way,” said Ayo.
After completing the program, Ayo was offered a full-time position as a Systems Analyst on the Central Data Store team supporting loan, contract and mortgage backed security applications. Now, she’s focused on increasing collaboration between the business and IT, analyzing applications and completing implementation, as well as identifying and documenting scope, requirements and processes.
“I’m now working as the sole analyst on my current project, which is a first, and I’ll be transitioning into a new role as a product analyst on one of our Modern Delivery teams in a few months,” said Ayo.
Modern Delivery is a long-term shift in thinking and acting between IT and the business that is improving collaboration, speed and productivity at Freddie Mac. Employees are empowered because they are part of teams that work independently, have end-to-end product ownership and, most importantly, are accountable for their progress and results.
At Freddie Mac, opportunities for growth and education are ongoing.
Beyond the Analyst Program, Ayo has taken advantage of several other development opportunities that Freddie Mac offers, including education benefits.
“Freddie Mac grants access to unlimited learning opportunities through programs like Udemy and LinkedIn Learning, as well as an assistance program for continuing education, which I will be using to pursue graduate school in Spring 2021,” said Ayo.
In addition to continuing education assistance, the company helps pay down eligible employees’ student loans by making contributions totaling up to $9,000 over five years, making it the perfect place for recent graduates to jump-start their careers.
Freddie Mac’s commitment to growth extends beyond the office and into the communities the company serves.
A major motivator for Ayo is the sense of social responsibility she has working at Freddie Mac, both in the mission of the business and in the company’s community service efforts. Anchored by Freddie Mac’s service program SERVE, Community Crew takes part in a range of volunteer activities across the country that support the company’s broader housing mission and their longstanding focus on improving financial literacy.
“Freddie Mac allowed me to pursue my passion and commitment to giving back to the community through my daily work and through community service events. Freddie Mac’s partnerships with Rebuilding Together, Habitat For Humanity, NAMI, Feeding Children Everywhere and others have given me the ability to participate in many Community Crew events,” said Ayo.
“I’ve cleaned and helped redesign a veteran’s yard and home, built a playhouse for children in D.C., packaged food for children during the fourth annual “I On Hunger” campaign, walked to raise awareness of mental health disorders and built an Adirondack chair for our Building Hope From Home day.”
The last of which was an event born from limitations brought on by the pandemic. Despite the need to remain socially distanced, Freddie Mac employee volunteers were committed to continuing their tradition of service. Rather than physically building homes with Habitat for Humanity this year, employees came together virtually to assemble small furniture pieces that are being delivered to families at their new homes or being donated to a Habitat ReStore.
“These opportunities provided me with the chance to work together with people from my company for the greater good, as well as meet new people,” said Ayo.
The pandemic didn’t stop Freddie Mac.
When initially preparing for summer internships at the beginning of 2020, program leads didn’t expect to have to shift their plans to support a fully remote workforce. But there was nothing stopping the University Program from forging ahead despite the new conditions. Icebreakers and introductions were transformed into engaging online events, and teams held onboarding socials to help the new hires connect with their colleagues.
Ayo participated in the Analyst Program prior to 2020, but her perspective on Freddie Mac’s transition to an all-virtual workforce proves the efforts were effective firmwide: “My experience has been very positive. One thing that stood out to me was that at the start of the pandemic, our senior leadership ran bi-weekly company-wide meetings to discuss changes and possible impacts. They were always open and honest. To me, having support from leadership provided a lot of comfort during such an uncertain time.”
“There were also several benefits released to help us acclimate to working from home, including financial assistance with purchasing work equipment, such as additional screens, keyboards, etc. That helped me create a space I felt comfortable in and could be efficient in.”
If you’re interested in a company that will help you grow professionally and give back while doing so, Freddie Mac is a great fit for you.
Ayo’s advice for prospective Freddie Mac employees would be to remain curious and to always ask questions: “It’s normal to be nervous during an interview but be sure to let your personality shine. Remember, every single person has been new before. Prepare ahead of time, especially if you’re interviewing virtually, so you don’t run into any technical snags. Understand exactly what you want to achieve from the position and how you will be an asset to the company. Also, make sure you showcase your ability to perform effectively in the job and your willingness to work hard in the areas that you are unfamiliar with. Skills can be taught, but attitude can’t!”
Whether you’re a rising senior applying for your first internship or a recent graduate ready to take your first step in the corporate world, you can find what you’re looking for at Freddie Mac. With many opportunities available tailored to your interests and goals, Freddie Mac’s University Program provides a transition experience, unlike others. Ayo found her career home at Freddie Mac. Find yours.
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