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Diversity in Action

Nationwide Mutual Insurance looks for new IT talent

Many interns segue into permanent positions. Students pursuing advanced degrees can take advantage of the Leadership Development Institute

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Senior corporate recruiter Mark Meador: recruiting both undergrad and graduate students.

Senior corporate recruiter Mark Meador: recruiting both undergrad and graduate students.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co is one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world, with more than $160 billion in assets. The company has three core businesses: domestic property and casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement savings, and asset management.

The company's products and services include auto, fire, life, health and commercial insurance; administrative services; annuities; mutual funds and retirement plans. Strategic investments are another area of activity.

True to its name, Nationwide does business in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. It also has operations in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Of the company's 35,000 total associates, about 5,000 are IT professionals. Most IT pros work in Columbus.

Both women and minorities are in upper management roles in IT. IT pros work in the Nationwide Services, Property Casualty or Nationwide Financial organizations.

Like many other companies, Nationwide is on the lookout for new talent to fill openings left by retiring baby boomers, especially in the IT field. In fact, Nationwide has identified talent management as one of its top priorities, says Mark Meador, senior corporate recruiter in the office of university relations. "Our main goal now is to recruit top talent from among both undergrad and graduate students," he says.

For students in the first year of a graduate program, Nationwide offers its Leadership Development Institute internship. Students are assigned to a corporate mentor and have the opportunity to shadow people in several areas in the company, including IT. Students are encouraged to use the program to become familiar with areas outside their fields.

During their internships students are invited to presentations by key executives. They learn relationship management: they network with other associates while they're at Nationwide and then keep in contact after they return to school. Once a student is hired, the networking continues.

The leadership program started in 2000, and about 70 percent of participants are eventually hired as full-time Nationwide associates. Interested students can apply for the program at Nationwide's website.

Meador says that an "aggressive hiring strategy" is in place for 2006, for both recent grads and interns. Last summer there were 100 interns at Nationwide, including undergraduate and graduate students.

Meador notes that when managers request graduate or undergraduate interns they must demonstrate how the person can be an asset to the company as a full-time associate. Then "Real-life projects are matched with the student's academic background and desire to learn new skills," he says.

Nationwide recruits at universities that have strong and varied academic programs, strong alumni organizations and diverse student bodies. The company participates in year-round activities like campus career fairs, interviews, academic and social events.

Nationwide recruits from historically black colleges through the Tom Joyner internship program. Participating schools include South Carolina State, Howard, Clark Atlanta, Morehouse, Spelman and Hampton. Nationwide also participates in the national conferences of the National Black MBA Association and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.

Meador notes that "Nationwide has a strong focus on improving lives in our communities. Throughout the year associates enthusiastically donate their time and resources to organizations like United Way, American Red Cross, local schools and community organizations across the country."


Nationwide Mutual Insurance
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co

Headquarters: Columbus, OH
Employees: More than 30,000
Revenues: $160+ billion
Business: Insurance and financial services
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