As many businesses transitioned their workforces to operate virtually in 2020, students were fraught with uncertainty about when they’d return to campus, their internship status, and how the pandemic would affect their lives outside of the classroom.
Rocket Mortgage, the nation’s largest mortgage lender and a part of Fortune’s 100 Best Company to Work list for 17 years in a row, was keenly aware of these struggles. Its Intern Experience team quickly adapted to create an unforgettable summer internship experience that was completely virtual—one that earned its highest approval from interns in the company’s 35-year history.
Still unsure about participating in a virtual internship? Rocket Mortgage might just change your mind. Take a look at why students and grads love interning at this company.
“Easily, what I enjoyed the most about my internship has been my teammates. Since day one, it was very clear that everyone wanted to see me succeed. Having that kind of support made transitioning into the team incredibly easy.
Next to that, I truly enjoyed how much interns are valued at this company. The Intern Experience Team puts in a lot of effort to host fun and helpful events that make us feel welcome and valued. All in all, there is never a moment where I’m not happy to be here.”
Former Rocket Mortgage Intern
Why Students Launch Their Careers with Rocket Mortgage
When students begin their internship with Rocket Mortgage, they’re exposed to more than 100 different companies within the Rock Family of Companies, which includes businesses in the FinTech, real estate, sports and entertainment industries.
This exposure allows students to gain insights into many industries and truly develop the skills that are in line with their interests. Finance might come to mind when you think of Rocket Mortgage, but the company offers internships in almost every professional field, including technology, marketing, human resources, sales, graphic design and audiovisual.
Once students start their internship, they’re encouraged to utilize Rocket Mortgage’s open-door policy with leaders to ask questions, share ideas and more. It’s not uncommon for interns to email the company’s CEO, or anyone else they want to talk to and learn from.
“I enjoyed the speaker series the most during my summer internship with Rocket Mortgage. I took notes for every speaker as I was greatly honored that such phenomenal leaders through various business areas took the time to speak to us, highlighting their responsibilities and personal journeys while also dropping life gems.
It is always nice to get an inside look at how leaders got to where they are today. It reminds us that they are humans too, not just working machines. Rocket Mortgage is full of diverse individuals from all walks of life. It was truly inspiring as an intern to learn that you don’t have to fit a mold to become successful.”
— Taelor F.
Rocket Mortgage Summer ‘20 Intern
What’s a Rocket Mortgage Virtual Internship Like?
Virtual internships look a bit different than traditional ones but, when done correctly, they can be even more engaging. Here’s how:
- They put their values on display. As a mission-focused company, Rocket Mortgage is proud to highlight its “for more than profit” philosophy that focuses on supporting the communities where its team members live, work and play. Last summer, interns called veterans sharing messages of thanks and support, wrote handwritten letters to seniors in assisted living facilities in Phoenix and partnered with the Valley of the Sun United Way for an event.
- They keep the quality time. Leadership panels and information sessions were all things Rocket Mortgage’s traditional internships had in previous years. With some innovation and creativity, most of these experiences are now offered virtually with coding workshops, LinkedIn and resume workshops, remote panels with local entrepreneurs and finance courses that discuss budgeting and student loans.
Another vital part of the internship program involves shadowing. Last summer, interns used Zoom to meet with the senior leaders, while others would collaborate with a specific team to finish a project. Technology made screen sharing easy, so interns could see the project, ask questions and brainstorm together.
Rocket Mortgage has always been focused on educating and developing its interns and shadowing is one of many ways students get those special moments.
- They practiced empathy. Rocket Mortgage wanted to connect students to the company using empathy. The team understands the stress and fear that comes with the pandemic, so they are transparent about internship statuses, start dates and more. Despite external uncertainties, students are always in the loop.
- They balance mental health and fun with professional development. During the pandemic, Rocket Mortgage prioritized mental health to ensure students felt supported. The team balanced professional development with fun experiences like wellness Mondays, virtual volunteering activities on Tuesdays, networking events on Wednesdays and more.
When it comes to racial injustice, Rocket Mortgage is quick to act. Instead of shying away from these conversations, they held virtual town hall meetings with the diversity, equity and inclusion team, created “Brave spaces” to share stories and encouraged interns to join their Team Member Resource Networks to get to know others who share similar experiences.
- They keep engaging. Traditional internships have associated perks like swag and in-office snacks. Rocket Mortgage wanted to offer the same experience virtually, so last summer, they shipped engagement boxes to interns’ homes, chock-full of swag, a home office kit and healthy snacks.
Interns are also encouraged to connect with other team members throughout the U.S. and Canada, ensuring that students leave learning something new while creating lasting relationships.
- They always have a plan. Rocket Mortgage created intern and leader guides to help both groups get the most from the virtual experience. Hiring managers knew what students were hired to do and were able to proactively plan a 9-week curriculum.
Interns got details on what they’d be working on and how each week would be broken down. By creating these plans, the team at Rocket Mortgage was able to support interns in their professional development.
- They don’t let culture slip. Rocket Mortgage wasn’t going to drop their culture just because the internship program went virtual.
Instead, they focused on being intentional, whether that meant exposing students to their sister companies, balancing fun with development or pairing students with peer ambassadors so they could better understand how passionate people—and not just those with the longest tenure—advance quickly within the company.
- They stay connected. Interns met with their leaders via Microsoft Teams every week and were able to stay connected via email and phone calls. By utilizing technology, Rocket Mortgage was able to maintain the usual weekly one-on-ones, give interns the ability to quickly ask questions and get project updates.
“For three months, I had the pleasure of interning for the Rock Family of Companies.
Despite holding the internship virtually for the first time in the internship program’s history, the Intern Experience Team did a great job providing a one-of-a-kind experience. The culture they created allowed me to grow professionally and be myself. The top part of my experience came from the trust my fellow co-workers put in me. From day one, I was asked to “do.”
There were real-life projects and events and I was thrust into many of them with the expectation that I could get the job done as well as someone who had tenure at the organization.
This edict not only allowed me to get hands-on experience with nearly every project I contributed to but allowed me to feel confident in my work. From the start of the interview process, I was told interns do real work and they certainly made good on that claim.”
Rocket Mortgage Summer '20 Intern
Sound Like Your Kind of Internship?
It’s no surprise that thousands of students apply for Rocket Mortgage’s jobs and internships every year. The Intern Experience team at Rocket Mortgage goes above and beyond to support students and grads and offer a holistic internship experience focused on professional development, mental health and wellbeing and a whole lot of fun. If this is the kind of internship you’re looking for, check out the company’s open job and internship opportunities on Handshake.
Are You an Employer Looking to Replicate Rocket Mortgage’s Unique Intern Experience?
Check out our blog on creative ways to make your virtual internship a successand consider these learnings from the team at Rocket Mortgage:
- Stay ahead of the game. Don’t wait to see what’s happening, but rather, make a decision about going virtual and start prepping for what that will look like. Offer support to interns and their leaders. Provide updates, over-communicate and create a plan.
- Be open to the benefits of working remotely. Rocket Mortgage saw success in their virtual program, recognizing that their interns could be just as productive—if not more so—working from home. And they were able to recruit talent from across the country, in addition to its home cities of Detroit, Cleveland, Charlotte, and Phoenix.
- Never stop learning. Rocket Mortgage is always discovering new and exciting ways to engage interns. They follow the “try, fail, learn from our mistakes and grow” mindset to build on their program and make it better year-over-year.