Morgan Stanley
  • Experienced Professionals
  • Jan 23, 2015

Return to Work Program Reaps Big Rewards

Kristen Marx, mother of three, wanted to return to banking, but found no "natural path." Enter Morgan Stanley's Return to Work program, offering opportunities to reenter the workforce.

In 2002, following the birth of her second son, Kristen Marx made a difficult decision, shelving a career as a vice president in asset management with Goldman Sachs to stay at home. More than 10 years later, with three sons now in school, Kristen felt ready to relaunch her career—and in February 2014 became 1 of 15 participants selected by Morgan Stanley to join its inaugural Return to Work program.

“It is a good feeling to know there’s a force behind you that wants you to succeed,” Kristen told the New York Times, which featured the program in a 2014 article. “I wanted to come back. I just didn’t have a natural path to get back to the work force.”

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Opening Doors Once Shut

For those who voluntarily leave the workplace, some to devote time to family commitments, finding a way to reenter can be a difficult road. Of women who left the workforce between 2004 and 2009, 89% wanted to return after two and half years, yet just 40% could locate work they felt matched their skills and experience, according to a 2010 Harvard Business Review study.

That’s where Morgan Stanley saw an opportunity to extend its commitment to locating the best talent for the company. Looking to engage these experienced individuals, the firm offered a path to retool their strengths, hone their expertise, and focus their skills in a new direction. In February 2014, the firm selected 15 inaugural candidates from a pool of more than 500 applicants, offering them paid 12-week internships.

“This unique and innovative way of reengaging skilled professionals who have spent time out of the workforce really underscores our commitment to diverse talent,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Jeff Brodsky.

From Opportunity to Offer

Kristen, along with other members of her intern class, met with senior leaders at Morgan Stanley, attended training, and networked with colleagues. On completing the 12-week internship, more than 60% of the graduates were placed in full-time positions based on their skills and interests in divisions across the firm. Now a Vice President in Morgan Stanley's Investment Management business, Kristen is just one of many success stories from the first internship program. Building on the success of this inaugural effort, Morgan Stanley welcomed a class of 19 participants in London in September, 2014, with a third set of interns set to begin the program in New York in February, 2015.

“There’s an untapped pool of highly qualified individuals who have been on a career break while caring for their families, and we want them back,” Ailsa Saltrese, European head of Morgan Stanley’s lateral recruiting team, told the London Evening Standard. “There isn’t necessarily a natural path for them. We often hear how hard it is to navigate your way back—it can be hard enough just after maternity leave, let alone a longer period out.”

As an extension of Morgan Stanley’s dedication to supporting those eager to return to work, the firm served as a lead sponsor for the 17th iRelaunch Return to Work Conference in New York in October 2014. The conference helps connect individuals looking to get back to the workplace with companies offering reentry programs. Please click here to learn more about about our Return to Work program.

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