Doing Well By Doing Good
Mastercard is a pioneer in payment innovation and technology, connecting billions of consumers, issuers, merchants, governments and businesses across the world. Across all of these touchpoints, the brand is committed to ensuring its values and purpose create a positive impact on the communities it serves. Far more than enabling payments, the company aims to provide the benefits of a “inclusive digital economy” to society and play a role in helping “individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential.”
It should come as no surprise then that Mastercard elected to host a cohort of CareerWise youth apprentices at its new tech hub in New York City. “We are a company who believes in doing well by doing good,” says Mastercard’s Erich Wachs, Director of Token Performance Management.
Eric is one of several Mastercard employees who stepped up to the opportunities presented by the CareerWise program to become an apprentice supervisor. For him, the role was an opening to further his experience managing people in a corporate environment. For Quazi — the apprentice he supervised and a member of the first cohort of apprentices at Mastercard — it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Helping Individuals Realize Their Greatest Potential
Quazi emigrated with his family to the U.S. from Bangladesh in 2016. He learned English as a second language while attending school. During his freshmen year Quazi was part of a small group of students invited to attend a CareerWise New York presentation.
“Through the program, I applied for apprenticeship positions at several different companies,” said Quazi. “I ended up with multiple offers and really took the time to do my research on each — but I still recall very clearly the phone call when I accepted the position with Mastercard. My parents agreed it was an excellent opportunity.”
“Not many people walk in the door passionate about payments, but Quazi demonstrated a genuine curiosity about the larger role of the company and the technology behind the scenes,” said Eric. “This natural curiosity, combined with the fact he was clearly a very bright student, made him a very attractive candidate for our team.”
In the two years since, Quazi’s work experience has propelled him from a young trainee demonstrating inquisitiveness and curiosity to an experienced professional taking ownership and initiative at the start of his career. “Of course, you develop an understanding of the technology products and their associated security protocols,” said Eric. “But Quazi also developed the ability to effectively work through challenges or obstacles — and does so in a brand- and tech-appropriate way.”
That progression, from inquisitive student — to skilled troubleshooter and brand advocate — is one of the transformative experiences students frequently experience through apprenticeship.
“Starting real work and my career while still in high school has been very precious for me,” said Quazi. “I am confident the knowledge and skills I have learned here will benefit me in any field that I choose.”
Bringing Corporate Values to Life
Eric and the team at Mastercard have realized their own benefits from the CareerWise program. Living the values around of diversity and inclusion, and seeking to drive innovation by elevating a global perspective is important to the company. Through apprenticeship internal teams get the benefit and wisdom of seeing things from a younger, and increasingly multicultural, demographic. “It is great for the company to be involved in these types of programs,” said Eric. “Apprentices impart knowledge about the work environment and important perspective on our work, but they also signal that Mastercard is more than just payments.”
Investing Unlocks Potential
In addition to living out its corporate values, the CareerWise apprenticeship dovetailed to one of the key priorities of the human resources team at Mastercard as well. “HR was working to develop leaders, and the apprenticeship program provided a great pathway,” said Eric.
While the company has internship programs, Eric noted the difference between the structure of a traditional internship versus apprenticeship. “It really is different from an internship, as you invest quite a bit more time in an individual. Apprentices become a part of the team and truly contribute to our success.” The advantages of having apprentices who are committed to a three-year program, rather than a few short weeks as in a traditional internship, is something frequently recognized and appreciated by employers.
And as with all good investments, the return in payoff is evident. “It was a great experience for me as a young manager, a great investment for Mastercard to make, and a transformational opportunity for Quazi as well, “ said Eric.