Investment Operations intern within the CASS Controls Team
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed my internship at Standard Life Investments. The work I did was challenging but enjoyable to tackle an area I had never had any real experience of before. The internship was flexible within Investment Ops so I was able to gain exposure to lots of different teams within the department and learn about what areas I enjoyed. The combination of such flexibility and the responsibility I was given within my team made the work I did each day good fun. The internship scheme itself brings the interns together across the whole of Standard Life which created a community feel within the interns in addition to the friendliness of people at Standard Life in general.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I integrated quickly with my team and felt valued from the very beginning. You are not treated just as the intern but as a full team member and your contribution to the team is really valued. My team were interested to listen to my ideas on things and genuinely wanted my input to the tasks we were doing.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was good at giving me feedback every two weeks in a one to one and also on the job. Similarly, I was able to get feedback from my assessment centre and interviews which was also invaluable. Everyone is keen to give you advice and help your personal development.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was given daily tasks to perform which helped me build up some form of routine. I also had my own projects to work on as well. I always felt busy but never like I had too much to do. Once I had completed a piece of work it was very easy to get something else to work on so there was always something to do.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
One of the most surprising aspects of the internship was the level of responsibility that I was given. I was valued as a full member of the team, and given responsibility from the very beginning. I had to manage my own projects, communicate with external companies, and work in a highly regulated area.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I am far more confident using the terminology of the industry and understanding how different teams link together within Investment Ops. Being exposed to an area that I had no previous knowledge of will help me adapt quickly to other situations where that is the case. I was helped to settle into the new environment quickly. SLI also offered courses; the Excel course has given me a great skillset that I will use in the future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Everyone got on really well and people were always friendly and polite. It was never eerily silent in the office. SLI was a really social place to work and there was a lot going on. I enjoyed the informal nature of team building events that allowed me to meet a wide range of people across SLI, and seeing the other interns or colleagues for lunch or after work.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was very well structured and it was made clear at a very early stage. The cohort of interns across Standard Life, in lots of different areas of the business, came together for intern events which gave it a broader feel than just within the department. The team I was assigned to was really interesting and they had taken that into account when placing me there. Equally, there was the flexibility and scope to see other areas within SLI outside of my team and I enjoyed the freedom that came with this. The application process was by far one of the best out of the other internships I applied for. It treated you as a person far more than other application processes do, and I felt valued at an early stage despite there being over 700 applications for two places.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
SLI concentrate on getting the most out of their interns and helping them to develop. We were able to go on courses to help develop our skills. We all took the Gallup Strengths Finder test to learn more about what our strongest areas were for us to develop further. It was really easy to get overviews of other teams within Investment Ops and people were happy to tell you about their areas to expand your knowledge and understanding.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
If offered a job by SLI, I would take it. The culture is really encouraging, and would be the type of place that I could see myself working. Each intern had someone on the graduate scheme as a mentor that they meet every few weeks. Based on my mentor's experiences it looks like a really great place to work where there is scope to grow and SLI invest a lot into helping their people develop.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was a good social scene amongst the other interns from across the whole of Standard Life. At lunches all the interns sat together and nobody was left out. I live in Edinburgh so stayed at home but the majority of the interns lived in serviced apartments and seem to have enjoyed it a lot. We also organised social events with the other interns, both across the whole of Standard Life and within my department.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Edinburgh is expensive, especially during the Fringe, but if you know the right places to go it does not have to be. The canteen at SLI was a competitive price, and there were lots of other options for lunch within a short walk which made it very easy. Lots of people brought pack lunches to save costs so this is definitely an option too.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Lots of options nearby SLI and also the intern accommodation. During the Festival, there are lots of temporary bars next to the office which were always busy. It's easy to get around Edinburgh so we usually went to bars and clubs near the university area. There is a wide range of places in Edinburgh too so its easy to find a place that you will like.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The interns all took part in a charity challenge day with the Children's Hospice Association Scotland. This helped us to take our skills and apply them outside of the office environment. There were lots of opportunities to socialise in the evenings and everyone was really keen to take part and meet the other interns.