To a college freshman, “finance” might seem like a pretty concrete career path. However, the more classes you take and internships you complete, you begin to learn that finance is actually a wide world of possibilities, ranging from credit risk and compliance all the way to cybersecurity and fraud investigation.
Choosing finance is easy. Figuring out which specialty you want to take is much harder. Or, at least, it was. Popular—a commercial bank with community values—offers a development program that helps new grads explore their affinities in finance to find the right role for them.
To learn more about it, we spoke to Min, a soon-to-be alumna of the development program who just found her permanent place at Popular.
A Training Program That Isn’t Just Top Down—You Get To Guide Your Experience
Popular’s development program starts with standardized training for all new employees of the bank. Min and her class of fellow associates learned about the history of the bank—which started in Puerto Rico—and how the culture of putting people first hasn’t changed in the bank’s hundred-year history. As interesting as the history and culture are, the really exciting part came after.
“My favorite part of the program is that I’ve been able to guide the way that I rotate,” Min says. “In this program, I’ve able to express my preference and be heard. I decided which departments I was interested in and my managers helped me get placed there, so I could come to fully understand how they operate.”
Like many development programs, Popular’s is centered around rotations through various business areas, but the rotations aren’t half-year sentences, and you have far more flexibility in selecting your assignments. Plus, guidance from your assigned mentors and business leaders will help you make the right move for you.
“Your professional mentor is higher up in the bank and your personal mentor comes from the associate class before you. Both of them help you navigate the program,” Min explains. “After that you speak to your manager about which projects you liked best, which business areas interested you, and from there the company matches you to your placement.”
The Culture Of Compassion Isn’t Just For Customers—It’s For Everyone At Popular
Just like the word, Popular is about people. Their motto “our bottom line is you” isn’t just a slogan either. This was something Min found out as soon as she started.
“Our mission is to provide the best customer experience, and that’s something that I felt right away,” she says. “That’s why your first rotation is in the retail bank. You learn how we interact with the customers and what they need. This helped me in every role. I know about our clients and I know how our company serves them.”
Of course, this didn’t surprise Min too much, considering how caring her mentors and managers had been about her own experience and professional development.
“It’s a helpful and caring environment. We’re still a big bank, but it’s small enough of a company that we can make connections with managers and Vice Presidents,” she says. “Everyone in this office will open the door for you and they’re willing to help you out.”
Find The Right Role, And Make An Impact Right Away
As she nears the end of the eight-month program, Min has found her permanent placement in Commercial Credit, which was her initial area of interest. And thanks to her rotations and the support she got from her colleagues, she can be confident in her decision.
“This program helped me to build a foundation,” she says. “I didn’t have that before I came here, but now I’m ready to really start my career.”
And at Popular, starting a career means making a difference—both in your department and in the world around you—right away.
Want to pick your path in finance? Check out open opportunities at Popular on WayUp!