VMware welcomes Husky partnership

By Andrea O'Neill '06

The notion that a student from a state university such as BU would never be noticed by as prominent a company has changed. Through a shift in VMware’s recruitment strategy and utilization of his network, Digital Forensics/ITM major Charles Pearsall ‘20 became one of the first two BU Huskies to intern with the Palo Alto company. He has since been hired full-time.

Much has changed in our world since five engineers dedicated to making people’s lives easier with virtual machines founded VMware. Twenty-two years later, the company employs over 35,000 people in 100 countries and is the premier creator of the cloud computing infrastructure on which millions depend for everything from social networking to grocery shopping.

The notion that a student from a state university such as BU would never be noticed by as prominent a company has also changed. Through a shift in VMware’s recruitment strategy and utilization of his network, Digital Forensics/ITM major Charles Pearsall ‘20 became one of the first two BU Huskies to intern with the Palo Alto company.

VMware’s Campus Strategy and Events Lead, Caitlyn Johnson says that while companies in the Silicon Valley have historically recruited from schools like MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and Stanford, there has been a shift in recruitment toward a more national scope. The company now concentrates its efforts at large career fairs or industry conferences, utilizing networking and referrals to find the best-qualified candidates.

“The idea that you need to have studied at a big-name school is evolving toward investing in partnerships that give us access to great students everywhere,” explained Johnson. “There is a lot of power in getting to know people. About a third of our hires come from referrals.”

As it turned out, Pearsall was the benefit of one of those referrals for his internship. A mutual contact introduced Pearsall to Pat Gelsinger, former CTL of Intel and VMware’s current CEO. Pearsall took it from there.

“It was a cool experience to meet him,” recalled Pearsall. “I had a call with him, and he referred me to a recruiter. I was on my own after that.”

VMware’s internship program focuses on providing interns a real-world professional experience that involves meaningful work and dedicated mentorship, and opportunities to network with professionals and leaders in the field.

 "It’s been a joy to run this program,“ said Cherielynn Tsay, University Talent Experience Program Manager for VMware. "We try to make it an unparalleled experience. IT Learning is the engine of innovation, and company culture plays a huge part in that. Our interns get a front seat to learn from industry leaders and are exposed to possibilities in their career journey.”

Charles Pearsall standing near the VMware sign

Pearsall was brought on to intern with the company twice, once in person in Palo Alto as a data center operations intern, and a second time remotely from his home in central Pennsylvania as a site reliability intern with the Cloud and Productivity Engineering department. He said that both times were rewarding and exciting.  

“It was such a great experience; I feel so lucky,” said Pearsall. “I was intimidated at first, but I knew my stuff; I kept an open mind, listened, and learned. It’s insane to work at such a big tech company. My supervisor has been such a great mentor to me.”

Pearsall’s performance earned him a full-time employment offer, which he accepted. He will move to California in February and begin working at VMware in March. 

“All interns are given a mentor on their team to help them navigate their day to day, project work and become part of their network within the company,“ said Johnson. “While not always guaranteed, VMware does try to turn their interns into full time hires upon graduation.  We try to operate by the motto of recruit once, hire twice.”

Thanks to Pearsall and the connections he has made, Bloomsburg University and VMware have all the necessary conditions to begin a networking partnership. The Bloomsburg University alumni board recently hosted an IT Conference entitled Our World Runs on Data to bring Husky students, alumni, and employer partners together to network and learn about cutting edge technology. VMware’s V.P. of Data Science, Niresh Agarwal, was a keynote speaker. Another Husky was approached to intern with the company, courtesy of the event. Pearsall says that he is excited to use his network to help others build theirs, especially for such a prominent tech company.

"Bloomsburg is so special,” said Pearsall. “I’m going to be at this job with people from Stanford, Harvard, and Yale. We all took different routes, and we all made it to the same place. If you get one connection, others will follow, and I want to help other BU students get the opportunity. I want to give someone else the shot to do what I did.”

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