1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The Bank's placement was unstructured and as such, the beginning of the placement was "bitty" and not engaging. Networking plays a large role in the type, and scope, of work you get involved with and after a while I was working on an array of projects covering a number of fields including accounting, risk, and security. The work in all three of these areas was varied and interesting, and developed my analytical and technical abilities in theory and practice. There were also a large number of training courses to attend, which enabled me to delve into areas I was previously not involved in, and then branch out to the relevant department for further insights, or to assist in a project/piece of work with them. I enjoyed the placement more as it developed, to the point at which I have accepted the offer of a graduate job in my department.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Many members of the team, division, and directorate would approach me on a regular basis, asking for assistance in projects/tasks that they had been given, and as a result I feel although they were satisfied with the quality of work that I conduct.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Although there was no structure to the placement, especially at the beginning, management were always very receptive to my needs and any issues that I had throughout the year were dealt with quickly, and appropriately. I was given regular advice by my line manager on what was best to learn/get involved with, and what "stepping-stones" to take to get involved with another area and project.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Due to the style of the work the team conducts, this varies considerably. There were periods of the year where I was regularly doing 55-65 hour weeks, and other times where it was 35-40 hours. If there are any issues with your work load management are more than able to accommodate.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Understandably, my level of responsibility built up gradually over the year, and during my final two months I was responsible for the first line of key processes that the directorate undertakes in its work. This involved owning various tools and providing outputs to particular areas, as well as feeding back regular updates to higher level management.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I gained a diploma is Business Analysis, and learnt to code in VBA, and MATLAB. Though these skills are not relevant to my degree (Accounting and Finance), I did considerable work on accounting standards, risk analysis, and stress testing, all of which will feed well into my final year.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The floor I work on is fairly relaxed, but with a high focus on getting the work done. Teams on the floor have regular external firm visits, and these teams are often the more boisterous. Some teams are more technical, and expectedly quieter as a result. However, everyone is friendly, and good to talk to on both a professional and personal level.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I am in the first intake of placement students to my directorate, and at times it definitely showed. A lack of any structure, or focus in particular direction was frustrating at the beginning. However, under the more recent management there have been alterations to this, and I am working with my line manager to make the experience more focussed for my replacement.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The Bank paid for me to go on many training courses, which built up to a diploma in Business Analysis. I was able to go on further training on Bank Accounting, Bank Financial Analysis, Bank Capital Management, and VBA. The breadth of these courses meant I was able to develop in an array of subjects.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There are so many areas of the Bank, and therefore there are many areas to get involved with, even if your area is not for you. I have already been offered a graduate position, which I have duly accepted. However, once in the Bank the promotions are slow (managers seem to be older than other firms) are the pay is not as competitive as other London financial institutions, however the work/life balance and benefits are exceptional.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Placement students regularly met up for drinks after work, and there were often events organised for after work or weekends. Though I commuted and was not involved in many of these events, there was still a strong turnout, with everyone being very inclusive. The team went for drinks whenever there was a new starter/leaver and on special occasions.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
City of London prices are incredibly high... cost of rent is a minimum of £7000, commuting was definitely a money focussed decision (cost £3000 for the year). Pints are at least £5, lunch will usually set you back at least £5/day if you chose to eat outside of the Banks canteens. A meal out is very expensive, cinema is also very expensive....... London is very expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife is exceptionally good, with London providing more than enough in the way of pubs/ bars/ casinos/ and clubs. There are good services throughout the capital to get you to wherever you want to go throughout the night as well. Although, these nights are damaging for your back pocket.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Opportunities outside of work normally came in the form of charity events. Although I never got involved in these events I am aware of a few placement students who did, and they went on running events, cake sales, as well as various parades etc. There is an annual governors day, which is well worth a visit.