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Discover Interns Tell All: Behind the Scenes in Our Internship Program

This summer we welcomed nearly 150 interns into our technology, analytics, and general business internship programs. Hear from this year’s emerging talent about the moments when they “leveled up,” the best advice they’ve received, and why they chose Discover.

Ashley DeLarm
Data and Analytics Intern
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: she/her

Advice that’s resonated with me is, “don’t be afraid to ask for help.” I used to have a hard time admitting when I was stuck. That changed at Discover. Here, everyone is willing to answer questions and help wherever they can— both with larger projects and daily work. So much of our everyday work is done through collaboration. A lot of the projects that I’ve worked on have been assigned to a pair or a group of us. Even individual work is easier to get though when I have someone to brainstorm and problem solve with. People on my team frequently reach out to check on my progress and meetings are always ended with “let me know if I can do anything for you!”

My biggest “level up” moment in college was when I got my internship offer from Discover. I got the call while I was in the airport. It was my first big internship so it made me feel like all of the studying and late nights had been worth it. This is now my second summer internship here with Discover.

Odin Verdin
eBusiness Intern
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: He, Him, His

Being an Economics major, I never expected to be working within a marketing department. Here I am, well into my internship, and I now have a basic understanding of marketing. That’s because I live by the advice, “never stop learning.” Growth requires the willingness to be uncomfortable, and that’s where the real learning begins. I’ve only been able to expand my skills because of the connections I’ve made this summer. Everyone at Discover wants to see people succeed and improve themselves.

Alexa Atout
General Business Intern, Balance Transfer Portfolio Marketing Team
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: She/Her

In taking an internship, I wanted to make meaningful connections. I’ve definitely been able to achieve this goal at Discover with the help of my managers, team, advisors, and peers. I meet interns in my area (as well as across other business sectors) on a weekly basis. I’ve also attended numerous coffee chats where I’ve received valuable advice and learned about new projects, roles, and more. The best advice I’ve received was, “never stop asking questions.” Remaining curious and asking questions has allowed me to develop my educational, personal and professional growth.

Jack Otto
Business Technology Intern
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: He, Him, His

When I was younger, I wanted to be in a hands-on job when I grew up. Over the years, I went from wanting to be an architect, to an engineer, to landing in software engineering. From the outside, software engineering doesn’t seem to be “hands on,” but it really is. With every problem comes an infinite number of solutions. That’s what makes computer science so much fun— it really lets your mind wander because there’s not just one right answer to a problem.

I’ve gotten lots of advice from my college coach over the last few years, but something he’s said stayed with me, “If you’re scared of something, you should do it. You’re only scared of the consequences and how they affect people around you, but this life is yours and at the end of the day, if you don’t have any regrets, then it doesn’t matter what happens.” I’ve used this piece of advice often in recent years. Any time that I’ve been hesitant to do something, I think about what my coach said, and it allows me to take the leap of faith.

Sean Coughlin
Business Technology Intern (Digital Payments)
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: He/Him/His

A big moment in my life when I grew exponentially was when I went through my first “pull request” at Discover. Any new development work is done in separate branches before being integrated into the main branch. The process of merging code is called a “pull request.” Going through my first pull request at Discover and seeing code I wrote merged was an amazing feeling. It was the first time that I felt like a professional software engineer.

As a software engineer, I find it easy to get lost in delivering code. Something this internship has taught me is the importance of the bigger picture. Focusing too heavily on one piece of code is a mistake that can lower productivity. This lesson is even true more broadly. Being a good employee, student, and person is not the result of a single day’s effort. The culmination of habits creates success (and not the other way around).

Discover has been a fantastic chance to gain exposure to software engineering and the financial services industry. An important part of any internship experience is the learning opportunity. The people at Discover have delivered on that learning opportunity. Everyone here is always open to helping others learn and grow in their careers.


Inspired to join the Discover team? Explore careers with us.




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Discover MBA Scholarship Winners Share Their Top Tips for Success

At Discover, we’re committed to advancing our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives through our continued partnerships with Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) and the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA). Through those partnerships, in 2020 we awarded 8 MBA students with scholarships. This year, the scholarship recipients shared their sage advice, future aspirations and business school insights with us. Read their stories below to learn why we’re incredibly proud to continue to support these national diversity organizations and their members.

Donteria Evans

I’ve wanted to pursue an MBA since filing my first provisional patent in 2016. However, due to a lack of financial support, I was unable to pursue an MBA until now. I’m currently pursuing an MBA to further my business acumen and gain valuable experience as a career switcher.

Throughout my educational career, I’ve learned that there will always be a distraction. However, the prize is in how you handle every distraction you’ll encounter. As the first person in my family to graduate, I know first-hand how hard it is to accomplish something you’ve never seen or without a mentor. It is a lot easier to get distracted when the destination is unknown to you and all you have is a goal.

I would tell my younger self to stay focused. I’d reassure her that not everyone will understand or support her dreams, and that is okay. I would tell her this because she expects that she needs the support and confirmation of others, but she doesn’t.

Lawrence Montalvo

I don’t fit the traditional MBA background. At the start of quarantine in 2020, I embarked on a spiritual journey and I realized that I don’t have to conform in order to succeed in my field. After graduating, I plan on leveraging my MBA and experience by working in the cosmetics industry. I hope to start a new venture to center the queer and trans makeup experience and provide equity by involving our communities in the development and reinvestment phase. My goal is to have hiring power so that I can recruit LGBTQ and POC colleagues into marketing roles.

I’m a life planner and tend to expect certain outcomes to materialize in a desired timeframe. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that there is a larger meaning to everyone’s life at play and what we all desire may not happen at the “right time.” So, for those starting their career, going back to school, putting in hours to start a new business, just remember to enjoy the moment and the small wins that come with it and be proud of each step you take to get to your next chapter. Be patient and stand in your truth.

Andrew Varnau

After feeling stagnated at my previous position as an analyst in specialty retail, I knew it was time to challenge myself again by exploring other positions and industries. My goal after graduation is to land at a company where I have impact in the work that I do and the communities around me. I hope that I can act as a leader and give back to the communities I’m part of.

Three major values have served me well throughout my life. Firstly, I’ve surrounded myself with friends who are supportive, accepting and trustworthy. These friends have had a larger impact on my life than I’d have ever imagined. Secondly, I’ve felt free to be as authentic as possible with who I am in all facets of life. Finally, I’ve remembered that while pursuing academics is extremely important and shouldn’t be neglected, having fun and developing quality relationships along the way is important too.

I am extremely grateful that Discover Financial Services has decided to support the LGBTQ+ community through Reaching Out MBA. Doing so demonstrates a true commitment to supporting diversity in the communities that Discover serves as a business.

Jordon Rose

Business is often tasked with the sole role of generating money. While that outlook serves shareholders, it doesn’t help the world. I pursued an MBA so I could help reimagine how we think of business. I want to create a business that generates money and generates a difference.

This MBA marks the moment I go hard, or go home. My next step will mix my background in psychology, business and art. By the time I graduate, I’m hoping to build a start-up that uses psychology to train professionals to be less prejudiced.

My advice to my younger self would be to think less about how people judge and more about what feels right. Mozart was only truly appreciated after time helped the world understand him. Be your crazy self now and give the people in your environment time to figure you out. And if they don’t figure you out, good! Who doesn’t love a mystery!?



Interested in joining the Discover team? Explore careers with us.



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Julian: Associate Software Developer in the UK

Name: Julian B.
Job Title: Associate Software Developer, Enterprise Payments Platform

Launching a career from an internship

I started at Discover as an Application Intern. During the summer internship programme, I worked on developing an application to automatically gather information about other applications’ movements through various environments. After graduating, I began my full time role as an Associate Software Developer on the Enterprise Payments Platform. There are only a few payment networks of this scale, so getting to work on one of them is exciting.

Pick up new skills

When I started at Discover full time, I had just graduated. I wasn’t familiar with all the specific frameworks and technologies— I just knew the relevant underlying principles. The technology we work with moves at a quick pace, so my desire to pick up new skills and knowledge really helped me move from an “intern,” into a true software developer.

Becoming a tech expert as a new grad

I’m also part of the emerging talent programme. We dedicate time during the day to develop our skills. I’ve heard other employers demand really niche technical skills from new graduates. However, at Discover we recognize the underlying enthusiasm in new grads. We “new grads” may not have had time to dive into niche tech yet, but with investment and support, we can become proficient.

Starting work in a pandemic

I started work during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve noticed that to counteract the isolated nature of working remotely, my teammates make a conscious effort to reach out via meetings and messages even more, whether it’s to talk about work or just generally check in with each other. The virtual connection makes me feel welcome and made up for not being able to meet in person.

Don’t undervalue the soft skills

Even though I’ve only worked here for a short time, I’ve already grown both technically and professionally. Coming from a technical background, soft skills can be easy to undervalue. However, I really appreciate that I now feel far more comfortable speaking up during meetings and demos than I ever have before.

Noticing enthusiasm everywhere

People are genuinely enthusiastic about what they’re working on and it shines through in everything they do. Our tech teams really care about our work. That energy generates such a positive atmosphere— I know I’ll never take it for granted.

Presenting to senior leadership

Towards the end of my internship, all the interns gave individual presentations to a group of senior leaders. I was quite nervous leading up to the big day —presenting is not my strongest skill— but everyone was relaxed and friendly. The leaders asked questions about what I thought of the internship experience and were genuinely interested in what I had to say. The presentations were a great point to reflect on what I’d achieved during the experience.

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Top CV Tips For UK University Students


Top 6 CV Tips to Land your Dream Internship

Get noticed, impress your hiring managers, land your dream role, and Shine Bright.

Download a Template

The easiest way to start? Download a template. Ask a friend, check your university’s career centre, or search the internet for a template you can build from. Look for a template that includes the below sections.

  • Main Heading: Includes your name, contact information, location, and a link to your online portfolio (if you have one).
  • Personal Statement: A short statement that provides recruiters and hiring managers with a brief overview of your skills and relevant experience for the role you’re applying to.
  • Education: Follows the personal statement and outlines your graduation date, relevant coursework and your predicted or received grades.
  • Work Experience: Includes bullet points that demonstrate the relevant skills you’ve acquired in each of your prior roles (more on this later).
  • Additional Skills: Technology stacks, platforms, languages and projects.
  • Hobbies and Interests: Don’t be afraid to include this section to briefly highlight skills outside of your desired role. These interests can be a key conversation driver during an interview.
  • Extra Curriculum: Activities such as awards, volunteering and university societies will round off the CV.

You don’t need to include every section we listed, but this should be a good starting point to think about what you can include.

Format Clearly

Pick a simple, easy-to-read font such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. Use only one font and pick a font size no smaller than 11 pt. Margins should be at least 0.5 to avoid cramming too much text on the page.

Write Strong Bullet Points

When writing bullet points, begin each line with an active verb (Created, Built, Developed, Generated, Drove, Organized, etc.). Do not include pronouns like “I,” “they,” “we,” “you,” etc. Quantify accomplishments to show concrete value. An easy way to ensure you’re maximizing your bullet points is to use the by + to method. State what you did, how you did it, and the result. For example: Developed new deployment methods (what you did) by partnering with cross-functional stakeholders (how you did it) to increase efficiency by 30% (quantified result).


Include the company name and job title in your personal statement. Use the company’s job description as a guide for writing your CV.  If you have experience with what they’ve listed in their job description, make your own bullet point about that skill in your CV. This can be particularly useful when writing your additional skills section or work experience section.

Use Keywords

Recruiters screen their databases for keywords, so incorporating them naturally into your CV will help you stand out. If the job description mentions a skill or technology platform multiple times, there’s a good chance that’s a key word. Key words could be things like: AWS, Cloud, Agile, Java, Full Stack, etc.

Polish and Send

Submit your CV as a PDF (unless otherwise specified). Save it with a normal title and not, “PICK THIS ONE” or “Super Ultimate Final With Best Summary” (though it might make us laugh). Recruiters can usually see the file name so a simple name such as “First Name Last Name, Company Name Application” will suffice. Before you submit, always double check you’ve submitted the correct version of your CV, with the correct company name wherever you referenced it.


Every company, and even every individual recruiter, will vary on their exact preferences. Follow these tips to build your initial version, and know that it will get better over time. The most important thing is that you apply.



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Day in the Life: Business Technology Intern in the United Kingdom

Name: Andreas V.
Job Title: Intern, Business Technology

Unbelievable opportunity

I first learned about Discover from a consumer perspective when I was looking into different credit cards. Two months after my research, I started applying for summer internships. Discover ended up being one of the places I applied. I was really excited when I first heard that I got accepted as a Business Technology Intern— I couldn’t believe it. I’m now done with my internship and the experience has been amazing. As a company, we operate based on the “Discover behaviors,” which are guiding behaviors that direct how we get things done. I was surprised to see everyone following Discover’s behaviors (actually) and I immediately felt welcomed by every single person I met.

New dashboard

My team is responsible for an online metrics dashboard that will help Discover employees keep track of their projects and their current releases. We can hopefully reduce extra work that is currently done manually.

I’ve been working closely with my team on every step of the project throughout my internship, trying to bring value to our project for our fellow colleagues. Personally, I’m working on the back-end of our metrics dashboard. I appreciate the technology and innovation throughout the company. Discover might be a financial services company in the books, but in my mind it’s a technology company above all.

Opening doors

Working at Discover has opened so many doors for personal and professional growth. For my professional growth, I’ve been taking courses on Machine Learning, which are all provided for free by Discover to employees.

Getting comfortable to be yourself

There are a lot of benefits to working at Discover, one of them being that people around you are willing and happy to help. After the first couple of days of my internship, I felt really comfortable with everyone. That amazed me— I don’t usually get that comfortable that quickly. With everyone being so collaborative and open, I felt part of the team immediately. Every single person I met was really happy to meet me and answer any questions I had. The work environment at Discover really pushes you to be true to yourself.

Come develop your skills

I would encourage anyone who’s interested to apply for a job at Discover as soon as possible. Working here has really helped me develop myself in all aspects and I believe anyone who joins Discover with the same mindset will experience the same.

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Texas Transplant, Math Wiz, and Data Science Analyst

Name: Maddie W.
Job Title: Data Science Analyst in Portfolio Analytics and Credit Strategy

From intern to analyst to recruiter.

I started as an intern in the summer of 2018 and then was offered an analyst position after I completed my last year of graduate school. After packing up my (very limited) winter gear, I moved to Riverwoods from Texas and started my new position in July 2019 on the Prime Credit Line Increase (CLI) team.  On the CLI team, I perform analytics to develop strategies for proactively increasing customer’s credit lines. Because of my experience as an intern, I was also invited to travel with Discover’s campus recruiting team to different universities and conferences to speak with students and potential job candidates. I have had so much fun helping Discover with their recruiting events because not only do I get to meet different people from around Discover but I also get to speak with so many great students and candidates from all over the world! I love hearing what they are passionate about and informing them how Discover’s internships/full-time positions can help them reach their goals; hopefully, encouraging them to apply. My hope is to get new and upcoming talent into our various analytics programs across Discover.

Management that cares.

All the training opportunities that Discover provides for their employees are incredible—everyone here is so supportive and helpful! The training makes it easy to learn new skills to become the best professional that I can be. The dedicated management here helps you with your professional goals as well as helping you to meet your personal goals. I am always able to ask questions or voice my opinions.

Commitment to communities and customers.

The best experience that I have had so far at Discover is the volunteering event where we went to a park and we worked on beautifying and improving the area for the community. I love how much Discover cares about the community through a strong belief in volunteerism. Also, I like how much Discover cares about its customers and that we can balance the ability to have a strong and profitable company while maintaining a positive customer service environment.

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Grow and Move


Name: Kirsten D.
Job Title: MBA Marketing Leadership Program Management

To Michigan and back

When looking for internships during my first year of the MBA program at University of Michigan, I found, at the time, Program. I was looking for a marketing internship at a very customer-focused company and from the description of the role and company, Discover looked to be like a really good fit. The interviews were tough, but I also got a great feeling from my interviewers that Discover was a great place to work. After landing the internship, I spent my summer in Consumer Insights, a department that focuses on market and consumer research, and absolutely loved the role, the company and the opportunities.

Growth & mobility

Since the Marketing Internship Program, I’ve become part of the  MBA Leadership Program, I have seen multiple sides of the business and have gained a variety of different skills and knowledge that have been incredibly helpful in my professional development. I really feel like Discover is different from other companies in that there are options for moving around the company and pivoting your role and/or career.

Assessing risk every day

My department partners to help manage risk in a variety of ways. Specifically, my team works with project on their new initiative, whether that’s an entirely new product or a modification to a current product, to assess the risks involved and help think through the plan to mitigate those risks. We provide guidance to our business partners to help ensure that they have the right connections and tools, and are thinking through the right things to make sure that their initiative is successful.

Empowered employees

Discover is a great place to work with a lot of different opportunities to stretch and challenge yourself. It’s also a place that really values its employees. I’ve always felt like I had a voice to share my thoughts and solutions and that I have always been empowered to work through problems on my own or when needed, raise my hand to ask for help.

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Newlywed. Mathematician. Card Operations Analyst.

Name: Ralph T.
Job Title: Analyst, Credit Operations & Decision Management

From intern to teammate

I started my career at Discover as a college intern. The Discover application on my college’s job board stood out because  I received my Discover it® Student credit card in the mail! The experience was amazing. I learned a lot from my fellow teammates and manager.  I also enjoyed my experience; so much, it was an easy choice to join full-time.

Support every step of the way

The culture of support and mentorship from all the people I have worked with over the past two years has been priceless. It was much easier to jump straight into my first job out of college with a network like this, along with the Analytics and leadership skills I learned from so many of my peers. Being my first role outside of college, it was incredibly rewarding to have their guidance and support.

 Prepared for today and beyond

Discover offers tons of opportunities to enhance your growth and professional development. The culture values developing the professional skill set of their employees.  You can see that day in and day out. I know the people I work with not only care about the advancement of their own career but also take an interest in benefiting the careers of those they work with. I have had the opportunity to sit down and learn from so many people across so many departments.  This has led me to become a well-rounded, informed team member who can contribute to the success of the business.

Improving our customer experience

My team works with text data from our chat and messaging customer interactions.  We also work with unstructured data sources to improve operational efficiency across Card Operations. My group leverage conversational intelligence to analyze each type of interaction that our customers have with Discover.  We do this to measure and improve customer experience. I find the work we do very rewarding, every day we focus on improving the way our business operates as well as leveraging Analytics to enhance our already award-winning customer experience.

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Dedicating the Day to our Interns

July 25th is National Intern Day, and we’d like to celebrate our 150+ interns for all of their contributions to the success of Discover Financial Services.

Our summer internship program challenges students to test their critical thinking and problem solving skills with complex real world projects. The program also offers participants the opportunity to explore career paths, network with senior leaders and work alongside industry experts. Our interns are also building their professional networks through a variety of social events and outings.

At Discover, we believe that internships are an essential step for early career development and to jump-start a successful career. Our goal is to not only provide an unparalleled experience, but for interns to join Discover post-graduation. The internship program could not be successful without the full support and participation of Discover employees.  Thank you for all you do to make a positive impact on our interns and the broader Discover family.

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Student Ambassador. Dog Lover. Human Resources Intern.

Name: Kelly T.
Job Title: Cristo Rey Internship, Human Resources

The high school I attend, Cristo Rey St. Martin High School, offers all of its students the opportunity to participate in a Corporate Work Study program. Through the program, every student gets placed at a partner corporation to work as an intern at that company. Based on my testing, I was lucky enough to be placed at Discover, where I get to work one day a week and one Friday a month. The money we earn from our internships goes toward our high school tuition.

Keeping it fresh in Human Resources.

Because Human Resources is such a large department at Discover, every day is different—but I like that because it keeps things fresh. I often support HR’s immigration team, helping deliver important information to employees who Discover sponsor to work here. This information can be time sensitive and may impact their work status in the United States.

Some days I work just on immigration matters, other days I get to help with marketing initiatives for the Discover recruiting team, and other days I’m focused on our annual intern project for the Corporate Work Study program.

Preparing for the future.

Discover has helped me expand my knowledge and understanding of the corporate world beyond high school. Through my experience at Discover, I’ve been able to greatly improve my communication, networking skills, presentation skills and, most importantly, it’s taught me how to problem solve. I feel more prepared for college and other career opportunities I may have in the future. Discover treats me like an adult and offers me experience to overcome real life challenges that I will undoubtedly face later on.

What sets Discover apart for you?

The Human Resources department is all about people. The diversity each of us brings by just being ourselves is what makes the culture so special. Discover doesn’t exclude me just because I’m in high school, the people I work with let me bring ideas to the table and help me execute on what I feel is important in a project or a task.

Volunteerism is also one of the core values at Discover that I appreciate most and was able to experience by volunteering with Discover. At a volunteer event, I helped build bikes for foster kids. It was an amazing and fun experience that allowed me to meet new people from different departments. It was also fun because while we were building the bikes, we got to listen to music.

I think it’s really fun here, and I love the people. Discover tries everything, different ways of doing things and innovating. I like how open-minded Discover is and how it accepts people with different religions and backgrounds. It really is a great place to work.