As a universal banker and certified coach at M&T Bank, Andrea Ferguson is the epitome of a successful Howard Community College (HCC) student. While at HCC, Ferguson completed the Skilled Immigrant Program and credits the Program’s skills-building courses and dedicated mentorship as the foundation of her success at M&T Bank.
“HCC prepared me for the U.S. workforce by helping me create a resume, practice mockup interviews with M&T Bank employees and improve my English. The Program gave me the confidence that I needed and helped me get my foot in the door.”
When Ferguson emigrated from Indonesia to the U.S., she was searching for a welcoming company culture that would give her a chance to build a network in the U.S. workforce. "For immigrants, it's important for us to feel comfortable before we start a new journey. I have experience back home in the banking industry, but of course, when I got here, it was like restarting everything from zero."
Through the Skilled Immigrant Program’s mentorship component, Ferguson had the opportunity to build connections with leaders at M&T Bank and learn more about the company culture.
"Getting to know the company culture through the mentoring program helps boost your confidence. For a new employee, it is important to know what the culture is like and whether you will fit in. M&T Bank is very welcoming to immigrants.”
Ferguson’s experience with M&T Bank ultimately led her to pursue a position with the company. She attributes her success to the preparation provided by HCC’s program.
"Starting at M&T Bank was not a culture shock because HCC prepared me for the work culture in the U.S. I also took several classes on creating professional conversation with customers and practiced my pronunciation, skills that are necessary when you pursue a career in a world that speaks English.”
The M&T Bank and HCC partnership has helped M&T Bank to staff a multicultural and knowledgeable workforce of committed employees like Andrea.
“Our partnership with HCC is incredibly successful because we share the same commitment to helping individuals succeed in the U.S. workforce,” says M&T Bank Senior Vice President Trish Schneider. “By participating in mock interviews and the mentoring program, we have helped HCC students build connections and, in many cases, go on to thrive as employees of M&T Bank.”
M&T Bank also shares in HCC’s commitment to improving diversity in the workforce. “Our community and the customers that we take care of are very diverse. Working together with the Skilled Immigrant program gives us an opportunity to build teams that reflect this diversity,” says Schneider.
As for other students considering taking the leap and joining the Skilled Immigrant Program, Andrea Ferguson offers these words of wisdom: “There’s nothing to gain if you stay in your comfort zone. My advice is don’t stop learning and give it time. You will adjust, and then you will grow.”