“With this office, we’re able to seamlessly integrate data from across the organization to build a world class client experience,” says engineering chapter lead, Alex Marchenko. “The easier our clients can access their information, the better their chance for investment success.”
A global financial services company based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, Vanguard has 20,000 employees working across multiple business units. Two years ago, as data became undeniably essential to its digital business model, CDAO was formed to build a more fluid process for organizing, accessing and sharing data across the entire organization.
The CDAO team is comprised of data scientists, analysts, engineers and AI/ML specialists who work with employees and stakeholders to understand the needs and goals of each business unit and its clients. They then gather the appropriate data mix, build tailored data models and analyze the results to deliver critical insights, and build internal platforms and processes for greater workplace efficiency and accuracy.
“Vanguard’s mission is to empower all of its clients to achieve their financial goals,” principal data scientist Crew Leizer Teran said. “Everything we do is designed to put clients first and deliver value.”
Some of the ways CDAO achieves this is by leveraging Vanguard’s data to improve upon and optimize the brand’s digital presence, learning which clients could benefit from new products and services, and how to market to them, and empowering employees to help clients most effectively reach financial freedom.
In CDAO’s second year of formation, senior product data analyst Rajvi Mehta compared it to working for a small startup: “We love the fact that we can experiment within this office. We’re coming up with creative research questions and looking at things from different viewpoints and perspectives. We have the backing from leaders to be really innovative, to take chances and risks.”
Originally a part of the Financial Advisory Services team, Mehta continued to focus on her financial advisor clients under the umbrella of CDAO. Using data, she helps them solve problems and develop strategies so their end-clients, retail investors, can reach financial independence.
“I love being a data analyst because I get to hear people’s stories and perspectives,” she said. “The financial world is so complex. We can help people make better investment decisions, build the right strategy and progress toward their goals.”
Growing at the speed of light, Mehta said, CDAO has a wealth of opportunities for technologists who are passionate about data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Even with a team of over 500 people, she feels like all of her individual contributions are recognized by leadership and that her work makes an impact.
“I’m a purpose-driven person,” she said. “Knowing I’m making an impact makes what I do even better.”
According to Marchenko, there is one truism of engineering that directly applies to the work they do at CDAO: “Everything continuously changes and evolves.”
Currently, the team is building fully native cloud platforms, all in modern cloud and software techniques, while also modernizing legacy systems. But every day brings a new challenge or opportunity to the table. They are looking for curious, collaborative engineers of all stripes, with expertise across a variety of languages and frameworks and a zeal for challenging the status quo.
“We’re crossing into a new frontier in an industry that hasn’t worked with advanced data and analytics yet,” Teran said. “You’ll get to make an impact on the business. We’re going on a journey together.”
The CDAO team is casting a wide net as it looks for tech talent, both internally and externally. They are not only screening rigorously for the right skills and mindset — but also for a belief in Vanguard’s mission to provide every single client the best chance at investment success.
“We’re empowering people to take control of their financial wellbeing,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest reasons I chose to work here.”
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