On a recent August afternoon, Viasat’s domestic campuses looked more like college campuses when interns and employees paraded around in school spirit wear and enjoyed a social lunchtime cookout. The event, held Aug. 2, was the second annual College Spirit Day held at the company. This day of fun, community and school spirit acts as an extension to Viasat’s summer intern program but is an event for all members of the company to celebrate. “One of our key reasons for starting College Spirit Day was for people to have an opportunity to show some pride and celebrate schools they went to or like to support,” said Sarah Wilson, manager of university recruiting. “It’s also a great opportunity for interns to connect with other alumni and build community and friendship.” Afternoon festivities included a barbecue, photo competition, and at the Carlsbad, CA headquarters, an employee resource group fair where interns and employees could fill stamp cards by visiting multiple booths and enter into a raffle for prizes.
“It’s great because everyone can come learn about the ERGs, what they do and how they can get involved at Viasat,” Wilson said. Viasat has ERGs for a variety of communities, including LGBTQ, Hispanic, African-American, veterans and more. Like the other internship events put on during the summer, College Spirit Day gives interns a taste of the company culture and what it’s like to work at Viasat. “We love our intern program because it gives us chance to really get to know someone and see how well they fit at Viasat,” Wilson said. “It’s an opportunity for a 10-12 week interview on both sides of the table. We’re trying to jam pack that experience into one summer, and the unique opportunity for interns to experience the environment is much more impactful than a five-hour interview.”
Many of Viasat’s interns become “University Grad” hires, meaning they’re within at least a year of graduation and have less than two years of work experience. “Every year, people are overwhelmingly impressed with the quality and volume of work an intern is able to accomplish over the summer,” said Wilson. “We get lots of positive feedback about the value they bring to Viasat.” Even though hiring isn’t an automatic outcome of having an internship at Viasat, it’s no wonder interns leave a strong impact on the company during their short time there.
“Whether or not interns become employees right after the program, we still want to keep good relations and leave a positive lasting impression,” said Katherine Mackie, who is the director of global talent acquisition. This past year, Viasat hired from over 100 universities across the country. “Viasat, unlike a lot of organizations, really places strategic importance on university recruiting,” Mackie said. “I think that makes Viasat stand out and is a big reason why our numbers keep jumping in how many we’re hiring. We see the value, we invest in the experience – we get it. And that’s not the case everywhere.” The company’s university recruiting team travels often to universities to recruit and spread brand awareness. Viasat participates in career fairs, gives tech talks and engages with student organizations, among many other methods. For schools they can’t visit in person, they take advantage of virtual platforms.
“We also have an intern ambassador program where we empower past interns to represent Viasat’s brand on their campus,” Wilson said. “We want to give as much access to students as possible.” As the company moves forward, the emphasis on university recruiting will continue, meaning there will be many more students in brightly colored college T-shirts at College Spirit Days to come. “That’s why I love working in university recruiting,” Wilson said. “I get to work with students and bring them in to the start of their career – and we want people to start their career here at Viasat.”
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