Senior Yong Li Networked His Way from an Internship to Full-time Job at Bloomberg
Last summer, Yong Li interned with Bloomberg Engineering’s news infrastructure team—a dream position for this University of Maryland senior computer science major fascinated with fintech. Just a few months later, he accepted the company’s offer to join full-time as a software engineer.
His not-so-secret weapon? Connecting with people. Li made the most of his time at Bloomberg by meeting as many employees and interns as possible to maximize his learning and networking potential.
“Yong was clearly excited to learn about Bloomberg Engineering and our culture,” said Lisa Ulker, a Bloomberg Engineering recruiter. “He quickly familiarized himself with industry-standard technologies and pitched efficient ways to incorporate them into the pipeline. We look for candidates who have added value to their internship teams and would continue to do so as a full-time engineer—there was no question that Yong fell into this category.”
In just a few short months, Li made a big impression at Bloomberg by developing an extension to help the news infrastructure team resolve bugs before news stories go live—all while building relationships throughout the organization.
“I’ve always known that networking is critical to building knowledge, and my internship with Bloomberg reaffirmed that,” Li said. “When I accepted my full-time offer, my team members and other people I’d met across the company reached out over personal lines to congratulate me. I felt—and still feel—really appreciated at Bloomberg, which is an aspect of the culture that means a lot to me.”
Now, Li is just as excited to move to New York City to reunite with his Bloomberg colleagues after he graduates in May. He’ll be joined by two other UMD students who accepted full-time return offers: senior computer science major Nathan Laieke and senior computer science and mathematics double major Domenic SanGiovanni.
Finding a Culture Fit
Back in fall 2020 when Li started thinking about a summer internship, he knew it could play a crucial role in finding a career after graduation. So, he did his due diligence before he started applying, refining his resume with multiple trips to the University Career Center, and attending several career fairs to familiarize himself with a variety of recruiters and companies.
That effort didn’t stop when the offers started rolling in. Before accepting Bloomberg’s internship offer, Li spoke with Bloomberg employees and learned about the friendly culture and job security the organization provides. Li said while other application and recruiting processes felt impersonal or automated, Ulker and others at Bloomberg made applying there “bidirectional,” offering him a chance to learn about the company while they learned about him.
“Lisa and I talked in-depth before I accepted the internship,” Li said. “She made sure to give me all the information that I needed to really understand what I was getting into, what Bloomberg was about, and different aspects of its culture.”
During the summer program, Li discovered his first impression of the company was accurate. Despite the organization’s size—with more than 20,000 employees globally—there was a sense of comradery that made Li excited for his future at the company.
One example of this comradery is Bloomberg’s annual math and logic puzzle tournament for interns—one of Li’s favorite memories from the program. For two days, more than 150 interns competed in teams in a scavenger hunt of sorts, moving from one brain-teasing logic puzzle to the next, working their way toward the ultimate challenge.
“The puzzle tournament was phenomenal; I was really impressed,” Li said. “We spent hours working together to solve these puzzles. Though we ended up placing fourth, it was a great bonding experience overall, and I still talk with my puzzle team today.”
Making a Lasting Impact
But more than just networking and enjoying the social atmosphere of Bloomberg, Li had a challenging assignment to complete during his internship—a project to help Bloomberg’s news infrastructure team simplify their content review process.
Li was tasked with developing a realistic preview of content for the news pipeline that would allow Bloomberg engineers to identify and resolve bugs in how different news pages appear before they are published. He designed the initial version of the app in just a week and spent the following weeks coding and developing a prototype.
“My application basically created a flow of actual news content so developers can preview and debug page layouts before they are deployed,” Li explained. “While I was prototyping the app, I was chatting and connecting with a lot of different people, which is how I learned about a new tool that would take my app to the next level.”
Li learned that Apache Kafka Connect, a data integration framework, had recently become available within Bloomberg’s systems, and he quickly put the tool to work. He adjusted his program to allow news engineers to clone free, publicly viewable Bloomberg News articles into their development environment. This enabled them to test their programs with a steady flow of original news content, instead of having to generate sample stories to test with. Li worked with his supervisor to deploy the app two days before the end of his internship.
“It was pretty rewarding that I was able to finish my internship and hand off this product that would make a difference for the team,” Li said. “Deploying it and seeing it pop up in real time was amazing.”
For Li, what was even more amazing—and gratifying—was getting a full-time job offer from Bloomberg months ahead of graduation.
Li also traveled, which he plans to continue until he rejoins Bloomberg in August. After a summer packed with travel across the European and Asian continents, Li will start the three-month training for entry-level employees, after which he’ll be able to select the engineering team he wants to join.
“I’m so excited to move back to New York and join Bloomberg full time—last summer was amazing,” Li said. “Right now, there are so many paths I could take, so I’m looking forward to this three-month training to help me try out different options and choose the right one for me. I think starting full time will be a great way to discover what I ultimately want from my career.”
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