1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my time at Standard Life (Investments). The work was both interesting and challenging while the work environment was friendly and helpful. While my area of work was fairly specialised there were lots of opportunities to get involved in a variety of projects and see different areas of the business.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My colleagues were very welcoming and appreciative throughout my time at SLI. They were keen to point out how my work was assisting them and helped me to fit in to a large office environment which I was not used to. The atmosphere was one of friendly cooperation and within a few weeks I felt fully at home and a member of the team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
With the work I was involved with I had two managers, both of whom were supportive and genuinely interested in how I was finding my work and fitting in generally. Both too were happy to answer any queries that I had, informally through my asking questions in the office and more formally through emails if required. When I started any new piece of work they would always ensure that I knew what was expected of me and that I had the tools I needed to complete it. Our relationships were not remote but on a personal level which I particularly appreciated.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The balance of work was pretty much right throughout the 10 weeks of the internship. There were days when I was particularly busy if deadlines had to be met or a new piece of work was given and there were days when less was going on because of holidays in the team etc. On balance however, these added up to a full but not hectic internship.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The level of responsibility was definitely one of the highlights of the internship for me. While my work was checked by my manager (in some detail for work to be distributed externally) I never felt as if I was being given jobs of no consequence or that someone was always looking over my shoulder. I felt that the work I was doing was both important and helpful to my team and the wider business.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
There was a good range of formal training offered (Excel courses, guest lectures, intern learning sessions) which were interesting and informative (StrengthsFinder being particularly useful). Most of the learning was however through doing the day-to-day work which helped me apply my university training to practical business activities, a crucial element of success in work generally. Also being in the office environment allowed me to further develop interpersonal skills and the end of internship presentation allowed me to get more experience of presenting - both of which will be useful at university and in general working life.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was nice and relaxed, perhaps surprising given the size of the company. While some times were a little quieter due to various staff holidays, the overall atmosphere was friendly. My colleagues around me were very happy to help not only with the actual work but the various practicalities of office working.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The work I was involved with was not quite as easily planned as some of the other interns' work but from the start my manager had a good plan of the types of work I would be involved at in various stages of the internship. Then, when it came to starting a new piece of work I was supported through the more specific details of what I would be involved in doing. It was well planned, not a scrabble to find me work.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Nearly every week of the internship there were intern development sessions, usually run by various people from the People Function but also with those of the wider business. These obviously involved organisation and people from across Standard Life giving up their time to spend helping the interns. Also, in my team there were various events which again involved a high degree of time investment.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
After the outcome of the EU referendum, some areas of Standard Life are not offering as many graduate roles as they normally would, although others are unaffected. The prospects therefore depend on the department you are applying to. The positions on offer are however appealing and give very good opportunities for future career development.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Having most of the interns living in the same accommodation, there were many opportunities to mix with fellow interns and get involved in a variety of activities that were organised via Facebook/Whatsapp groups and more informally.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Edinburgh can be fairly expensive, some local knowledge is very helpful. As in general life, it is harder to find more affordable shops/venues than cheap ones but there were no major cost of living difficulties for mw.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?