No sitting around making copies or working in a back-office environment. You’ll work with real clients doing real work. While on the job you'll understand first-hand what a career The Principal is like as you get a feel for what you would do if you worked full-time with our organization.
Interested in meeting our interns?
Business & Finance majors
- Kristi, intern in investor accounting at Principal Global Investors
- Amra: intern in IT—information services-technical
- Bethany, intern in RIS systems pension
- Matt, intern in for Principal Global Investors
- Arun, intern in investment accounting for Principal Global Investors
- Nick, intern in commercial real estate investments at Principal Global Investors
- Jeremy, intern in human resources-recruiting and diversity
Communication & Public Relations majors
Information Systems & Computer Science majors
Major: Economics & Spanish
Kristi stumbled upon an opportunity at The Principal when she was browsing a career opportunities website. Even though she was not actively searching for an internship at the time, Kristi says she knew it would be a good opportunity to learn some new skills and to gain professional experience.
“I’m working in equity trade support, so I’m responsible for making sure that all equity trades settle correctly. There might be problems with the settlement instructions or a shortage of shares, and I work to resolve those issues,” she says.
Kristi says that it has been rewarding for her to know that the things she does at her job has an impact on the business. “The impression of a typical intern is someone who makes copies and picks up coffee, but I have similar responsibilities to regular full-time employees.”
Kristi experience working at The Principal has helped her narrow down her focus on what sort of career she will look for in the future and what she will look for in a company. “I’ve realized how important it is to look into the values of each company. I like how The Principal is willing to be flexible and encourages networking and development.”
Major: Accounting & International Business
A conversation with a representative of The Principal at a Drake University job expo convinced Amra to apply for an internship at the company. After finding out about the roles and responsibilities an IT intern would have at The Principal, the junior in Accounting and International Business says she knew the position would be a great way for her to “further her education by gaining experience in the workplace.”
As an intern in Information Systems, Amra acts as a liaison between business units and IT to help fulfill requests. She meets with representatives from the business unit and IT to improve applications, upgrade projects or complete any other need the business unit might have.
Her internship at The Principal has opened up future options, according to Amra. “I like the technical side more than I thought I could. It has opened up a path to IT for me, and I didn’t expect that to happen.”
Amra also says she’s enjoyed working in downtown Des Moines this summer. “Des Moines is a surprising place. It’s trendier and more chic than people think it is,” she says. “There is more of a focus on young professionals and there is a good music scene, too. If you are young and passionate about music, you can see bands here that you wouldn’t expect to visit Des Moines.”
Bethany, intern in RIS-systems pension, knows what it means balance work and life. In one summer she worked a full-time job, took nine credits of summer classes and planned a wedding. Somehow Bethany even found time to be on the intern events committee, create a video for an intern video contest and coordinate a sand volleyball team with fellow interns.
Bethany says the activities she’s involved in during her internship have given her the opportunity to be in direct contact with upper management. Through her day-to-day roles and her work on the video contest, Bethany was able to present her work on different projects to senior management.
Bethany’s role with the company was to work with a team of interns to develop a mobile app for Android phones. This app would allow clients to look up information about their account from their phones. “It has been great to work with emerging technologies. I would have been hard to find such a great opportunity at another company,” she says.
At the end of her internship, Bethany, and the other members of the team, presented their app to a group of vice presidents in their division. “They gave us the project and let us run with it. We could be as creative as we wanted and then we were able to show them our accomplishments at the end.”
When Matt began working at Principal Financial Group, he says the company’s reputation was intriguing to him. “I was enthusiastic about working for a reputable, large-scale company,” he recalled. Matt worked for Principal Global Investors (PGI) as a trading associate. He was a immediate contact between bank custodians and brokers, so he mediated different coupon rates and updates for bonds.
During his internship, Matt participated in a ‘Fun Day’ at PGI, where employees took six hours in the afternoon to play golf, attend a baseball game or go to Adventureland, an amusement park in Central Iowa.
He also played volleyball with a team of employees of The Principal during his six month internship. For an hour of the workday, Matt’s teamed competed against other teams of employees of The Principal. “I was both a team building event and an opportunity for me to network with other employees,” he says.
Matt has valued his time at The Principal as it allowed him to build relationships with employees and peers. “To me, the company does a good job of recruiting the right personality types. The employees are all good people,” he says. “It has also given me a good background of financial information that you don’t necessary learn in school.”
Before working at Principal Financial Group, Arun only had professional experience with smaller family businesses. His time at The Principal is giving him exposure to the corporate world and what it’s like to work for a larger company. Arun says the difference is that at The Principal, his job affects many other teams. If he misses anything it can affect many other aspects of the investment process. “My role is basic or at a grass root level, so there is a chain effect if I miss something,” he says.
Arun works on a data team in investment operations for Principal Global Investors. When traders or portfolio managers want to buy any securities, his team builds the security in the system and makes sure all the information regarding those securities is correct in the system.
This experience has also been Arun’s first time working in the investment field. He had worked in finances before, but never this aspect. Arun says the experience has pointed him in the right direction, as he wants to pursue a career in the investment field. His future goal is to be a trade or portfolio manager.
“I would like to work in investments and I would like to work for The Principal,” he says.
Nick has had previous internships in commercial real estate, but at The Principal he has the opportunity to work within the equity investment area. He searched for opportunities with Principal Financial Group because very few companies can do what The Principal does in the industry in the state of Iowa. “The Principal is well-known for its training in this field; it is a prestigious company in commercial real estate and well respected in the industry.”
Working at The Principal has helped Nick realize that he wants to pursue the equity side of commercial real estate in the future. “It reaffirmed that I’m in the right career field,” he says.
In his commercial real estate role, Nick works on sensitivity analyses, which involves predicting property value based on varying “what if” scenarios. He also evaluates cash flow forecasts that predict a property’s income for the next month to the next 10 years. Nick has streamlined some complex budgeting and data management processes using Excel and other programs utilized by the Commercial Real Estate team. These responsibilities give Nick the opportunity to be in contact with brokers and property managers from all over the country. “Every day is something different, depending on what the team needs,” he says.
Outside of workplace, Nick attends social gatherings with team members, including participating in RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). “I’ve been able to get to know my team on a personal level and develop these relationships outside of the office,” he says.
Major: Business Leadership
Jeremy says he has had a passion for the Principal Financial Group since high school. “I first job shadowed my senior year and have kept in contact with connections ever since then,” he says. Jeremy says he was interested in The Principal because of the respect the company has in the community, the commitment to employee development and the opportunity to work in downtown Des Moines.
Jeremy provides support to many members of the Human Resource team on project work, as well as assisting in the management of the Valued Intern at The Principal program. During his time in the role, he says he has had the opportunity to complete several projects. One of these is a toolkit for writing innovative job descriptions that he had the opportunity to present to a team he work very closely with. “It was a chance for me to utilize my creative skills while also helping them with recruiting,” he says.
During his internship, Jeremy has also been taking classes to get his masters degree at William Penn University. In the future, he says he like to be in an HR role with a company in the Midwest. He plans on staying busy by continuing his education and pursuing his Doctorate from the University of Phoenix.
Major: Journalism and Mass Communication-Public Relations emphasis
While searching on the social media website, LinkedIn, Wendy learned about the internship opportunities at The Principal. As a journalism student at Iowa State University, Wendy’s degree program required her to have an internship in order to graduate. “I knew that an internship at The Principal would not only fit my degree requirements, but it would also give me valuable professional experience for my future.”
However, Wendy had no idea just how much work experience she would get in her time at the company. “I have had other internships before working at The Principal, and there were sometimes up to three-hour blocks of time where I wouldn’t have any work. It was frustrating to work for a company that doesn’t fully utilize your skills,” she says. This was not the case at The Principal.
“I have found value in every task I’ve had at The Principal, whether it was coordinating children’s booth activities for a community outreach event or scrubbing the dirt of the head of our America Rebuilds Eddie mascot,” Wendy says. Some of her daily responsibilities involve writing stories for the company’s intranet, editing an employee newsletter and acting as a communication liaison for the Principal Volunteer Network.
“The projects I’ve worked on and the people I’ve had the opportunity to learn from will continue to impact me for many years. The Principal has helped me use my skills for growth and development,” she says.
Major: English & Political Science
On the participant marketing team, Jessica creates, maintains and updates various marketing pieces, such as workbooks, fliers and payroll stuffers. She is responsible for keeping these materials current for financial professionals and plan sponsors. “I’ve really enjoyed my marketing communication role because it has allowed me to utilize my base skills in writing,” she says. “I’ve learned that not only do I enjoy working in a communications role, but I’m good at it, too.”
Jessica says this position has given her the opportunity to have new experiences everyday. “I work with different people throughout the company on each project, which requires me to meet with new people everyday,” she says.
Not only has Jessica has met new people through her position in the company, but she has networked through her involvement with the intern engagement group and different volunteer opportunities. During her internship, she volunteered at various events sponsored by The Principal, such as The Des Moines Arts Festival, The Principal Charity Classic and the Capital City Pride Parade.
At these community outreach events, Jessica represented The Principal by answering questions about the company and people’s finances. “Volunteering with The Principal has inspired me to pursue further volunteer opportunities in the community,” she says.
Major: Communications/Public Relations
After recently graduating from the University of Northern Iowa, Jen says she was searching for jobs and applied for an internship at The Principal on a whim. “I didn’t have a financial background or anything, but I thought why not give it a shot,” she says.
Prior to starting her summer internship, Jen says she expected that she would need to know more about finances in order to work at the company. “I thought I might have to know about financial terms and regulations, but my role was actually more about communications. I learned about finances as I got more familiar with my job,” she says.
Working on a marketing communications team, Jen creates and updates new communication pieces for institutional clients of The Principal. The majority of her role involves project coordination as she serves as a communication liaison between various designers, clients and representatives in compliance.
She says the role helped her find her niche. “Writing isn’t my favorite thing, but I really like project coordination. It solidified what I wanted to do for my career.” She encourages anyone to apply for a role at The Principal. “Even if you don’t have a background in finances, you will learn through the experience,” she says.
Major: Computer Science, International Business Management & Spanish
Megan, a recent graduate of Luther College, says she thought an internship at The Principal would be a great way for her to get into IT work. To supplement her Spanish major, Megan minored in both Computer Science and International Business Management. Here at The Principal, she writes scripts to automate manual test cases. This helps reduce testing time and increase testing coverage.
One of the things Megan says she has enjoyed about The Principal is the company’s culture. “It’s different than what I expected from corporate America. My mom has worked in Corporate America for years, and her job has strict requirements. She can only have three personal items at her desk and is required to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour break for lunch.” Megan found out that working at The Principal is much different, due to the company’s flexible work arrangements and the numerous opportunities for networking and development.
“It’s rewarding to have a culture where the employees are more laid-back.” she says. According to Megan, her team calls themselves the Sunshine and Rainbows team, and they believe that any problems they encounter will get fixed in the end. She says she learned more working at The Principal for two months than she learned in a semester-long Computer Science class.
Major: Information Systems & Accounting
Before beginning his internship, Luke says he thought that working at a larger company might be out of his comfort zone. “It was unfamiliar to me, but I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to gain a different perspective and develop my professional skills.”
Luke found that everyone he worked with at The Principal was very welcoming. He says he connected with the members of his team and with fellow interns in the Valued Intern at The Principal program. “I have lunch with other interns, and one is even going to renting a room in my house for a month.”
Along with the connections he made, Luke says he gained skills from the experience that will help him in the future. Working on an IT team in the Life Division, Luke’s role was as a business analyst, or a middleman between IT and various business units in the Life Division. His main project involved documenting the current use of a work flow routing application, which takes documents that come into the business and routes them to the correct locations.
Throughout the project, Luke met with his leader once a week to discuss his progress. “My leader would describe what he wanted, and then he let me run with it. He was open to my ideas and suggestions and continually gave me just the right amount of feedback,” he says.