They served their country; now they’re bringing invaluable skills to PGIM’s Student Veteran Cohort Program.
By Adam Hunter
Millions of dollars on the line. Sensitive information. The project to upgrade one of PGIM and Prudential’s primary accounting systems can’t be trusted to just anyone. Enter PGIM summer intern Marvin Sosa. In his two-plus months with the PGIM Information and Operations Systems team, Sosa performed crucial regression testing to make sure the new systems are up to snuff. How can the company entrust such work to a college student? It’s easy when your intern has had high-level security clearance, the respect of generals and responsibility accounting for more than a billion dollars of military ammunition—every last tank shell and pistol round.
“As soon as people learn about my background, they understand that, OK, I have some experience. I’ve been treated with that respect at PGIM,” says Sosa, who served four years in the Marines, rapidly rising through the ranks to sergeant and records chief. “I’m doing work at PGIM that affects the whole institution.”
Sosa is one of seven interns in PGIM’s inaugural student veteran cohort program. This year’s cohort served with the Army, Navy and Marines, and range in service time from 2 to 21 years. Each received career coaching, professional development and networking opportunities through a series of activities with senior leaders, mentors, office buddies and Prudential’s VetNet business resource group.
“The mission of the program is to inspire and support veterans in their pursuit of becoming PGIM’s next generation of leaders,” says Steve Blazejewski, managing director for PGIM Real Estate, executive sponsor for Veterans Initiatives at PGIM, and a former submarine officer in the US Navy.
For Sosa, a first-generation American, the military was always in his plans. His father served in Guatemala before immigrating to the United States in the 1980s. “This country has done a lot for me and my parents,” Sosa says. “I wanted to give something back.”
Now entering his last semester at Manhattan College, Sosa plans to graduate in December with a degree in computer information systems. As president of his school’s student veterans organization, he’s been impressed by how PGIM’s program pairs student veterans with experienced mentors in the corporate world who have an intimate understanding of military life and work.
“My mentor coached me through decision making in the corporate world. These are things that will benefit me, no matter where I go,” Sosa says.
One of the program’s mentors, PGIM Investments’ Keshav Rajagopalan, vice president, Exchange Traded Funds and an intelligence officer with the Navy Reserve, says PGIM has learned as much from the interns as they have from the company.
“They have an amazing skill set—leadership, critical thinking, analyzing problems and working with people,” he says. “You can see the enormous impact they will have on our organization.”
PGIM is looking to expand the program and create additional cohorts across the U.S. next year. Interested student veterans can register with PGIM for more information.