Zoya Virani assumed she was going to law school following her graduation from Emory University. Vivek Pokkula looked exclusively for early career opportunities in legaltech during his senior year at The University of Texas at Austin. And Rylan Siegenthaler was seeking careers where she could utilize her management information systems degree from UT. Despite these varied career goals, all three found their paths as associates in the Emerging Leader Rotational Program (ELRP) at DISCO.
The ELRP program is a three-year rotational program that includes two to three rotations between different departments at the company. Virani found the rotational aspect attractive: “Although I originally wanted to go to law school, I never really found my calling. I felt that the ELRP program would give me good exposure to a variety of departments and I would eventually be able to decide what I like as a career.” Similarly, Siegenthaler liked that the rotations gave her the opportunity to become successful in multiple roles over the course of three years.
DISCO’s inaugural ELRP cohort consists of about 40 associates. Before the rotations begin, associates are introduced to DISCO with a month long onboarding process. Siegenthaler recognized this onboarding as DISCO investing time and resources into associates and building their leadership skills. Pokkula felt that the onboarding was a great start to his role. “I fostered very close relationships with the other members of the program and now consider many of them good friends. Additionally, I commend DISCO for the way they set up the training process. It was a low-pressure environment that allowed me to meet other associates personally and professionally. Allowing the new associates to work together for a month made me feel like I could turn to any of them for support.”
About three weeks into training, the associates meet with various hiring managers across the company to learn more about their rotation options and each department’s contributions to DISCO. Virani found this information eye-opening; before these meetings, she didn’t realize how many moving parts DISCO had. She felt that the interviews were done with a holistic approach where the roles play into the associates’ strengths and experiences. Siegenthaler recommends keeping an open mind during the interview process to feel out each department and role. All three were happy and excited about their placements.
The First Year
Pokkula is now a finance and investor relations associate and works in the finance department. He regularly collaborates with another finance associate, so they can learn and succeed together in their new positions.
Siegenthaler was placed in business operations with seven other associates — one of the biggest groups of associates. She too is thankful to be working with peers in a similar career stage.
Virani enjoys getting to work with friends that she had made from onboarding. She’s learning the ropes of product marketing and likes the opportunity to try something new.
Siegenthaler and Pokkula both already had roots in Austin from their time at UT. But for people like Virani who moved to Austin from elsewhere, DISCO helped ease the burden. “Beyond work, I’m also happy that DISCO and the ELRP managers have made a genuine effort to transition us into post-graduate life in Austin. I moved to Austin in early June knowing no one, but now I can say that I have 38 close friends and I know the city fairly well.”
As for advice for future ELRP applicants, these associates all say the same thing: keep an open mind. A rotational program works both for people who want to use their specialized degree, and for those who don’t know what they want to do for a career. Keeping an open mind allows associates to experience brand new roles, learn new skills and competencies, and explore opportunities for future career growth and development.
If you are interested in an early career journey, check out our Emerging Leader Rotational Program (ELRP). ELRP is a multi-year career journey with structured learning, rotation work experiences, a capstone project, and ongoing learning and career development. At the end of the program, associates have completed an accelerated path to graduate into a lead role in either a thought leader or people management career path.