Many factors go into the creation of a diverse, thriving, professional community. But rather than waiting for talent from underrepresented groups to come to you, it’s essential to seek out, train, and support the next generation of engineers and innovators.
This is what drives several Bloomberg’s recruiting initiatives, one of which is preparing a new generation of young Latinx engineers for future careers at Bloomberg. This summer, the Bloomberg Latinx Community’s (BLC) Tech group partnered with the University of Puerto Rico (Mayagüez, Rio Piedras, and Arecibo campuses) and Inter American University of Puerto Rico (Bayamón campus) to launch a new mentorship program. The goal is to prepare engineering and computer science students for the software engineering interview process.
“Bloomberg is committed to adding more equity to the technical interview process,” said Julio Nicolas Bueno, Lead Recruiter for Bloomberg’s Engineering department at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). “This means investing in Black and Latinx candidates through individualized mentoring that bridges the gap from classroom to software engineering interviews which requires a specific skillset.”
“What we’re trying to do is invest more in underrepresented candidates and to build more trust with these communities,” Bueno said. “We’re looking for talented engineers who are eligible for summer internships or seeking full-time positions. We’re trying to really live up to the company’s cultural value of transparency, making it very clear what we’re looking for, aligning the prep work to what the interview questions will be, and really providing a guide and a blueprint for success.”
Students are paired with individual engineering coaches from Bloomberg, the majority of whom are Latinx (some are even alumni of these universities). Mentors spend approximately 90 minutes each week with these talented students, offering insights into coding and problem-solving skills for interviews, the transition from university classes to the interviewing process, and what it takes to join a large tech company like Bloomberg.
“One of the things that is a priority for us is recruiting and retaining Latinx talent,” said Alex Bozic, Head of the Trade Automation & Execution Engineering group at Bloomberg, who also serves as the executive sponsor for BLC Tech. “The people of BLC Tech are really passionate about that. And, as a student, if I had had someone come in and spend time with me, who I can relate to, who has been through what I’m going through right now, it would be quite motivating for me, as well.”
The 25 students in the program were hand-selected by their professors. They participate in weekly one-on-one mentoring sessions with a BLC Tech member, as well as workshops, an active Slack community, and mock interviews. Throughout the program, students strengthen their coding, problem-solving, interviewing, and communication skills.
“I remember when I was in school, struggling with how to jump from school to ‘real life’ work,” said Maria Rivera, a BLC Tech mentor and University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez alum who captains Bloomberg’s Engineering department’s recruiting effort at University of Puerto Rico. “I certainly would have benefitted from participating in a program like this when I was in school. As an alum, it gives me that fulfillment to give back to the community I came from, and to help others get the benefits of joining a company and industry like this.”
“I have never had a female engineer mentor, and having Maria Rivera coach me made a huge impact,” said Karelys López Rivera, a computer science and engineering student at University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez. ”Because of her, I can see myself as a female engineer and I look forward to my Bloomberg interviews.”
While this year’s program ended in mid-September, some of the students are now interviewing for summer internships or full-time positions in 2022.
“We’re now sending our interviewers to get them comfortable with Bloomberg, with having an interview, with what we’re looking for from a technical standpoint,” Bozic said. “All of these students were hand-picked because of their hard work and talent. They already have the knowledge, we’re just looking to get them comfortable with us, and building up their confidence that they can do this.”
Aside from supporting these talented students, BLC Tech has an eye on longer-term goals for expansion and inclusivity. “This is the first step in building trust and community with University of Puerto Rico students,” explained Bueno. “We are exploring additional opportunities to coach and mentor Latinx candidates, with the ultimate goal of hiring as many students as possible. In fact, one student has already accepted an offer from us.”
Internally, the program has become an exciting project for the BLC Tech group to rally around.
“I feel very proud of the company,” said Jose Rivera-Santuche, an Engineering Team Lead at Bloomberg who is one of the founders of the BLC Tech group, and a University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez alumnus. “It’s great seeing Bloomberg go outside the U.S. mainland to get more candidates and engineers. One of our main focuses is to increase Latinx representation in Engineering, and something I always say about UPR is that we have a 100% chance of producing Latinx engineers.”
Rivera-Santuche added, “UPR has reached a point where it can say ‘we have students as good as those from the Ivy League and many other big New York universities.’ I feel very proud seeing more engineers graduating and being successful in the tech industry — and at Bloomberg — from my alma mater.”