My journey with Synchrony started while I was browsing for opportunities in Handshake, specifically for programs that catered to sophomores. It was easy for me to find internships for juniors and seniors, but difficult to find anything work experience related to sophomores.

In the midst of my search, the Synchrony Business Leadership Sophomore Externship Program stood out to me. I was nervous to apply and questioned my credentials. I asked myself: “Am I good enough? Am I qualified?” 

Welcome sign at the Synchrony Financial externship

Welcome sign at the Synchrony Financial externship

After much thought and anticipation, I decided to take a leap of faith and apply to the Externship Program. Days later, I received a phone call from a Syracuse alumni employed at Synchrony, asking me a couple of questions about myself and his role at the company. It was a very informal and comfortable interview, and getting to know the alumni furthered my confidence with my application for the externship. The alumni extended his offer for the externship on the spot, and I was not hesitant at all to accept at all!

The program started on Monday and lasted till Thursday. It was a three day jam packed program with presentations, team building activities and off-site community service. But it was all to better understand the company’s foundational values and expectations as a future employer.

Day 1

For the first day, I got a better understanding about Synchrony’s background and traditions. They branched off from General Electric and became their capital retail bank in 2014.

We got an in-depth understanding of the Business Leadership Program (BLP), Synchrony’s full-time  internship program that challenges interns to immerse themselves into business cases and new innovations. The internship offers ten tracks: Credit and Capital Management, Risk, Audit, Data Analytics, Operations, HR, Sales management, Finance, Marketing and Technology.

There is something for everybody on this program! After learning about the BLP internship program, we were given to opportunity to network with current and former BLPs. This was helpful because we were able to ask questions and scenarios that different BLPs have faced and how they were able to overcome obstacles and what they learned from the two year rotational program.

Day 2

The second day we learned about how Synchrony manages to make money, while still being one of the most well known credit bearing company by partnering with companies such as Amazon, Marvel, American Eagle, and more.

Later on, we were introduced to a case study about the different types of customers that Synchrony faces on a day-to-day basis. We had until Thursday to come up with solutions for the case study.

We also toured the Synchrony “campus” (their corporate headquarters) and got a glimpse of their Innovation center. Their innovation center consists of current and future technological projects that they are working on. They plan to publish the projects 2020 or 2021. These range from working with Alexa and Google Home and asking them to pay your Synchrony bills with simple voice commands!

Afterwards, we learned about the eight diversity networks that Synchrony likes to emphasize, as their take on the inclusive environment. They are, African American, Asian Professional, Hispanic, LGBT, People with disabilities, Veterans, Women, and Native American. Each diversity network is not restricted to their targeted groups, rather anyone can join these groups. We ended our day with some classic team building activities, such as an escape room and the marshmallow challenge.

Day 3

Day 3 was rather a busy and exciting day as were changing to different locations! We had the opportunity to network with current BLPs again at breakfast. Afterwards, we received a tour of the Joint Security Operations Center (JSOC). We learned about the information security side of Synchrony and how they track fraudulent behaviors throughout the company.

The employees at JSOC also showed us how they interact with their employers at the India location for better assistance with any security information.  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the tour was the live disaster tracker that they installed, which gave us live reports about any disaster from as small as fire alarms to as big as plane crashes happening in the United States.

After coming back from the tour, we learned more about the Corporate Citizenship Overview at Synchrony. We learned the ways Synchrony commits to helping their employers pay off debts and bills. We also learned about the numerous financial benefits the company has to offer. Lastly, my second favorite part of the day (aside from the JSOC tour), was the off-site community service we had to attend.

We were able to connect with students from a middle school that focuses primarily on the education and guiding them towards the right path. The school gives neglected children a chance to engage in education. We heard their stories, connected with them, played some dodgeball and ended the sweet day off with some ice cream! Understanding Synchrony’s involvement with community service became important for me because they focused on groups that we do not hear much about. Connecting with these groups, and helping them is one of Synchrony’s values. 

Day 4

The fourth day was short and sweet. We even had the opportunity to polish our resume and receive interview tips and tricks from Synchrony officials.

We received some great insight about the company and the Synchrony family from Chief Audit Executive Mark Martinelli. Martinelli gave us some great advice on how to navigate through interviews and internships and what to take away from this great program.

Lastly, we presented our case solutions for our case study. One of our recruiters wrapped up the program with  closing remarks about the Synchrony and their journey as a family.

Personal thoughts

In my short but bittersweet journey with Synchrony, I learned a lot about the company and met some bright and creative minds in the process. I was surrounded by students with ideas, intellect, and innovation the whole time. This made my experience even more rich and personal. It was a great way to understand the depths how a company functions with over 100,000 employees as a family. I definitely recommend this trip to anyone who wants to learn more about Synchrony!