1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
As GE is one of the largest companies in the world, I held the view that as an intern I would be 'just a number', however you soon realise that the teams and people that you'll be working with over the internship view you as an asset to the projects you'll be assigned to. Interns are given real responsibilities to create and manage IT tools and applications that have a critical business impact. Interns are definitely not hired to do the morning coffee run!
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
From my first day as an intern, one of the key messages GE want to drive home is that it's vitally important that you get to know your colleagues. One of the things I realised early on is that my colleagues didn't see me as 'just another intern', instead viewing me as a valuable team member and treating me as such.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Each intern completes their 12 month placement under the direct supervision of a manager. While, as far as I'm aware, there is no predefined schedule or pattern for support, the manager I worked under felt that we should set aside 30 minutes each week to discuss my internship progress and raise any concerns or queries in a private setting. Additionally, your manager will often be within a stone's throw in the office, so they're always available to provide immediate support.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Within GE, the workload placed on interns can vary greatly, depending on the team you're assigned to. For my internship, I was placed within the application management team for one of GE's largest engineering tools. As such, I found that my involvement with supporting the application was minimal for large periods of time, until a periodic release when I'd be heavily involved in conducting testing. The interns are also assigned group projects alongside their day to day work, which helps to fill any free time in the calendar.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The level of responsibility assigned to interns is heavily dependent on their willingness to go out of the comfort zone and take on projects. As I've previously mentioned, the interns will be given group projects, which will allow for a number of responsibilities to be taken on across the team, however there may also be the opportunity for interns to take on additional solo projects, which bring a greater level of individual responsibilities.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Working within a company like GE quickly developed my communication, time management and prioritisation skills, as these are required everyday to ensure you're completing your actions. For me, I believe these are going to be invaluable skills for when I come to working on my final year project. Additionally, GE are hot on ensuring their interns have excellent presentation skills. Colleagues working on the graduate program work closely with the interns to help build these skills.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Many would expect an office at GE to be a dull environment. What I found however, was that while those around me had a number of tasks to complete, they also often liked to have a joke and share a bit of banter during the day. The general atmosphere across the office as a whole is a laid back one. There was never a time that I couldn't walk over and speak with a colleague I needed advice or assistance from. On my site, the IT Leader and a number of other high level managers were located close by, enabling the interns to make use of the support of knowledge of those around them.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship scheme is well established within GE, so it has become very well organised. Candidates for the IT graduate scheme are chosen primarily from within GE's intern pool, so I found that across my placement year, I was given greater amounts of responsibility to see how well I could manage projects.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The business involved me in training for the projects I was working on, however one notable lack of training was in accredited project management methodologies.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
There were no perks with
this Placement Year
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The IT graduate scheme is fed primarily from the intern pool, however working with GE as an intern does not mean the option is there for you to be offered a job at the end of your placement. All interns who apply for the graduate program must attend an assessment centre, with approximately a 1 in 10 chance of receiving an offer.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The interns and colleagues often went out for drinks or food, giving great opportunities to socialise and network outside of the business environment. For interns, this is great as it allows for the chance to get the true opinions from those you work with when they're relaxed, rather than receiving the typical answers to questions that you expect in the office.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
As I commuted to work each day, I didn't incur any costs of living in the area.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The local area has an excellent nightlife, as the business is located in a city with a university. As such, there were plenty of options available for the interns and colleagues to explore different places, meaning that there were then plenty of opportunities for us to go out on nights out and socialise with each other.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes. The interns and graduates often had activities outside of work. For example, go karting was a favourite. GE also has a great volunteering presence, with the opportunity for the interns were able to get involved with volunteering to assist with landscaping work and fun days at local childcare centres.