European Business Development team tries to attract new clients in Europe by promoting and presenting about Standard Life Investments' product range.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The 10 weeks were focused on one project (in my case, about the insurance industry) and this meant I became very knowledgeable in that area. I really enjoyed the project, the people and the office environment. You definitely get a great work-life balance here - come in at 9 and leave at 5. It is very rare the hours will be different. Office feels really nice, with good lunch setup and plenty of chat during the day amongst colleagues, who will welcome you right from the start.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Felt very valued by colleagues and if you want to meet up with someone from another department then they are always very willing to set aside 30 minutes or so. Sometimes this is important for information about your project, but sometimes it will just be 30 minutes to find out more about what their department does.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Managers were very good at setting aside time every week to catch up with you and listen to any concerns/questions.
Can be difficult over the summer as people are often in and out of the office with holidays etc, but this is unavoidable and there is always someone senior in the department who can help out, even if not your manager.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Difficult to answer as project was quite self-sufficient. It is your responsibility to get on with it, so a degree of self-motivation is needed. You are as busy as you want to be, but managers will try to set a general aim for the week to give you direction and focus you.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
A lot. The manager took time at the start to explain what you would be doing and how it fits in with what the department/company as a whole wants to achieve. So you can really appreciate the value of your internship work to everyone. Interns are given lots of responsibility and are definitely not micromanaged.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I spent a lot of time reading financial news articles and going through company accounts, which is a key part of prospecting new clients. So it will certainly assist in my next career steps and it also helps for my degree studies as it greatly improved my industry knowledge and practical application of courses (e.g. accountancy and finance modules).
Standard Life also emphasised that there are many roles in the company and you don't have to be an stock picking expert or even come from a finance background to succeed here, so don't feel intimidated to apply if you study History, Biology or Languages, for example.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Really welcoming and friendly at the start. Relaxed during the business days, but still everyone getting on with their work - great balance.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very structured 10-week programme with events on every week or so. Managers usually had project milestones for interns to hit each week, so it was still nice and structured for the project.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
As much or as little as you want. There was a compulsory 'strengths' session to help you find out more about your working style and what you are inherently good at. There are also lots of online trainings (regulatory things, leadership modules, materials to develop your knowledge of investments) that you can do anytime and courses you can go on, so long as it's ok with your manager (which it almost always will be).
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very appealing and I would love to work here in the future as it's a really good graduate programme (I've spoken to many of the current graduates who are having a great time).
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Frequently go and eat lunch with colleagues or fellow interns, then there is often after-work drinks on Thursday or Friday (quite spontaneously organised)
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived at home so this was not very applicable to me. But if you're coming from outside Edinburgh then Standard Life puts you up in a flat for the summer internship time.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Good nightlife and great intake of interns to enjoy it with.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Plenty of opportunities because colleagues and interns were very welcoming, particularly to Edinburgh festival activities for example. Also several clubs/societies in the office to help you get involved.