1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
At first I was worried that an 11 week long internship would be too long, especially as many of my friends with internships were only doing 6-8 week stints. However 8 weeks in I was glad that I had not reached the end! The company has a very welcoming culture and is full of interesting people who are exciting to be around.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
At PA Consulting is that it is often difficult to tell the difference between people of different ranks within the company - everyone has a chance to voice their opinion! I felt that was the same for me - I was given responsibility right from day one on a variety of tasks and was often asked for my insights on each matter.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
PA provides a good support system for every employee. Everyone in my division has a line manager and a 'buddy' which is great for deciding how you want to direct you career. A nice touch during my time at PA was that the person who interviewed me at my assessment centre was then assigned as my line manager when I joined the company, meaning that I immediately had a familiar face to ask for support and direction once I joined the company.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I found that the workload in consulting is very cyclical, some weeks I would be able to get my work done at a steady pace and leave by 5/5.30pm each day, other weeks it would be more frantic. However I was never needing to stay very late into the evenings but at the same time was rarely bored or underused.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
One of the reasons that I believe that PA is a great firm to work for at a lower rank is the size of the company. The company is big enough that you get to work alongside notable clients but also small enough that you get to work in smaller teams where more junior people have a greater chance to make large contributions to a project. In my second week I was already producing work which was used on client side.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The obvious skills like time management, using microsoft office etc were quickly improved but I also learned about different thought processes, how to quickly summarise information and also how to present information in a more coherent manner - very transferable skills
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The division I worked in was good fun to be with. Everyone is keen to get to know each other and find out about each other's skills and interests. The people in my division were happy to make time to help each other out and also to have a more relaxed chat about life outside of work.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The application process was well structured and I was kept well informed throughout. My division had prepared for me to have some work to do instantly once I came into the company and from then on I was given a lot of guidance on how to get onto projects that were interesting for me.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
For my first week at PA I was on the company induction programme in the company's Cambridge office (put up in a hotel for 4 nights!). Here I learned quickly about the work that PA does and about the company itself. At the office, several people suggested things that I could do to further my development and intesting projects that I should find out about.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I haven't found out whether I am to be offered the job yet with PA. However my impression is that due to the length of the internship and application process, as well as how much the company invests in its interns, there is a good chance that PA would like a high proportion of their interns to come back to the company after graduation. PA is not like bigger companies where interns may be competing for a fixed number of places - if you work hard and show you're of use to the company, you're likely to get a role at PA!
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes, there were other students on placement schemes at the company who I got to know. It was easy for us to decide to meet for lunch some days and they are now friends that I would like to keep in touch with after the programme. This helped me settle in a lot more quickly and was fun to hear about each other's experiences.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
London is expensive to work in! PA's offices are in Victoria which is no exception, being located so near to the Chelsea/Sloane Square area. That doesn't mean you can't manage on a budget - there's a sainsbury's local just across the street (£3 meal deals!) and there is accomodation that can be rented over the summer around London
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?