1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The overall experience was very much positive, with a lot of independence and flexibility granted to us as interns. I was treated as a full-time employee by colleagues who were probably the biggest contributor to my experience. The only drawbacks were pay and certain parts of the job which were not really intellectually stimulating and a bright 18-year old college pupil could easily have done.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
As I touched upon earlier, feeling valued and involved in the team's challenges and even being given the chance to contribute towards strategic plans and goals means this is an easy top mark for Bloomberg. I will however add that this only holds true for the Sales part of the internship (8 out of 10 weeks), as the exposure to colleagues in the Analytics week was non-existent.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My immediate supervisor was sat right behind me and his laissez-faire attitude towards management -- I could essentially do whatever I wanted without anyone asking any questions, so long as I could account for what I had done at the end of the week -- was the perfect fit: I am very independent and enjoy figuring things out on my own, therefore it felt more natural to do so than nag my supervisor for assistance.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
There was always something to do, and there were hardly ever any points of the internship where I felt like I was simply waiting for the end of the day to arrive. We had some work which was obviously a "filler", that is, it was very mechanical and non-sensical work which many of us felt like they "dumped" on us to make sure we were not sitting around doing nothing. Not a bad thought, but many of us felt that we could be involved in more challenging tasks.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Aside from the travelling to clients - which in travelling teams becomes impossible since we do not have the technical expertise - we were treated exactly like a recent joiner in the sales teams, both in terms of responsibilities and in terms of expectations. Instead of simply ticking the boxes, however, I created my own mini-projects to really add value to the team - when they saw this, they gave me even more responsibility, evidence to the flexibility and pace of the company.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As someone who completed all studies before starting on the internship, I would comment that the initial week of training was a good way of making sure we knew each other in the intern group, and to ensure everyone was on at least a minimum level of knowledge of the financial markets. The training we received was very useful, though not all of it equally relevant to the tasks we would go on to work on in our respective sales teams.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Busy, dynamic, fast-paced, (very!) open, sociable, youthful. The pantry is the lifeblood of the office and a great area to relax, catch up, grab breakfast, a much needed coffee, or the famous 15:00 snack. Having to pass through this area every time you leave or enter the office is somehow revitalising, and in strak contrast to the rather grim cubicle environments of many other offices. The atmosphere in the office areas would depend on the time of the day, and on how many employees were out travelling.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The beginning of the internship was very well planned, with clear schedules and timetables for various training, projects and campaigns we would be involved in. However, as we progressed through the internship, it felt like -- I am not sure whether this was intended or not -- the people responsible for our internships were not as committed as they were initially. This held true both for the central organisation (for all interns) as well those organising the internship in my specific department. I believe this is something that could be improved, perhaps simply by saying that the individual teams should be able to manage the lifeline of the intern when they know each other.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The first week (of ten) was dedicated exclusively to training. Throughout the internship I was encouraged to attend various training programmes organised by Bloomberg University, the internal training centre. On these sessions interns as well as full-time employees attended, showing that no differentiation was taking place. The amount of training you could receive was totally up to you as an intern - though I did feel like most of the employees were very happy with the constant training and development which, after all, is crucial to stay on top of the financial markets and the clients' needs.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Fantastic employment prospects for graduates of all backgrounds. Bloomberg is not the typical finance company: although finance graduates like myself are sought after, so are programmers/computer scientists; journalists; technical & customer support agents, sales people, financial product specialists... the truth is that one's academic background will come after your ability to demonstrate interest for your particular field when it comes to being offered a job or not. Bloomberg care more about you and your passion than what you decided to study.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The first week of the internship was vital for the intern group feeling. Reinforced by the (in?)famous Bloomberg chat system, there was always something going on, whether this was organised by the interns themselves or the human resources employees, and whether it was internal to our department (some 35 interns) or the entire intern group (around 150). There were various networking events to ensure all interns could get to know each other, though it became obvious that many interns were too shy/immature/rude to want to connect with colleagues in other departments.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
London is expensive, and this should come as no surprise to nobody. What makes matters worse is that Bloomberg do not really pay interns as well as other companies, and this is probably the greatest area of improvement (and, I would hazard, probably one of the biggest reasons a Bloomberg offer would be rejected). However, for students who are used to leading Spartan lives and cutting costs wherever possible, there is a Wetherspoon's a 7 minute walk from the office; Shoreditch one tube station away, and various deals which incentivise socialising.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Did not really go out a lot, but there is always a lot of night life around Shoreditch, which is a 15 minute walk from the office.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Bloomberg pride themselves on donating 90% of all profits to charity, and there is a team dedicated to philanthropy which promotes (internally as well as externally) the projects Bloomberg are involved in. We were encouraged to participate on these projects, which ranged from planting trees to rebuilding a house for veterans to live in... as opposed to CSR initiatives in many other companies, Bloomberg's philanthropical efforts actually feel like a natural part of the organisation. And with 90% of the profits going toward them, money really does talk.