A few years ago, RBC Wealth Management-U.S. turned its internship program upside down by giving its college-aged interns at the firm’s Minneapolis headquarters a unique opportunity: to work side-by-side with executives on the firm’s business strategy.

Called a “reverse internship,” the RBC Wealth Management program is modeled after reverse mentoring, a two-way approach where older executives mentor, and get mentored by, younger employees.

Under the “reverse” approach, summer interns still hold regular day-to-day responsibilities under a direct manager, but are also divided into several “capstone” groups, with each group given the task of devising a solution to a business challenge or opportunity. In past summers, topics included client acquisition strategy, communication strategy, intergenerational decision-making, financial literacy, attracting new financial advisors, remote work, and more.

At the end of the summer, each group then makes a 20-minute presentation to firm executives detailing their recommendations.

RBC Wealth Management-U.S. President Tom Sagissor has found the internship program to be an enlightening experience.

“Today’s college students are technologically savvy, globally minded and resourceful,” he says. “Our summer interns bring a fresh perspective to important issues, and I can’t wait to see how we can incorporate their creative ideas and recommendations into our business.”

Meaningful conversations

Throughout the summer, interns also have opportunities to provide advice to executives on a more personal level, such as during a meeting or a discussion over lunch. Some conversations may involve simpler topics, like internal policies, while more complex discussions look to larger industry trends, including the question of how robotics or artificial intelligence will influence business in the near future.

summer interns volunteer with habitat for humanity

Summer interns volunteer together with a local Habitat for Humanity chapter.

The opportunity to have such meaningful conversations with firm executives has proven to be a valuable experience for past participants of the program.

“It was incredible to be able to interact with executives,” says Matthew Coopersmith, a 2018 RBC Wealth Management summer intern.

“The people at the firm really made it seem like we were there for a purpose,” adds Jack Manning, a fellow 2018 intern. “I didn’t expect to feel that valued going into the program.”

Learning about business, and more

Just as the firm learns from the interns’ unique perspectives each summer, the interns learn about the business and industry, while building valuable job skills to help prepare them for their future careers. They also learn about the firm’s purpose, and how RBC Wealth Management is committed to giving back to the communities where employees and clients live and work.

To that end, the program includes volunteer opportunities such as working with a local Habitat for Humanity chapter to help build a new home for a family in need.

Luisa Resendiz, who interned with RBC Wealth Management while studying at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, says it was meaningful to see what the firm stands for outside of an office setting.

“It shows that RBC does the right thing, and that’s valuable for people our age to see,” she says. “It was great that RBC gave us those opportunities as part of the internship. It made the summer that much more of a valuable experience.”

Committed to a better future. Learn how RBC Wealth Management supports the communities where we live and work.

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