1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
On a placement within Standard life investments you are given the freedom and responsibility to explore many areas of the company outside that of which you are working in. For example, I was working within the operations team but was allowed time to meet with team members of equity, trading and performance management teams to name a few. This gave me a great overview of what happens within an investment company. The people at SLI are also incredibly welcoming and are more than ready to answer any questions. The intern community Is a very enjoyable element of the placement- having so many interns in the same accommodation means you're bound to make good friends.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My colleagues were always good humoured and ready to answer questions. Nobody made my time at SLI deliberately difficult and my opinion was always listened to and valued. At no point did I feel I was taken advantage of as an intern and my team would always find time to talk me through an problems, regardless of how busy they were
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Management and supervisors could not have been nicer. Everyone at Standard life was more than willing to take time out of there day to chat about there role or answer any questions. At the same time as this, I was encouraged to figure out problems for myself, even if this resulted in mistakes being made on my part.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The levels of work towards the beginning and end of my placement were excellent, however there was a lack of work during a short period in the middle of my placement. this was simply due to a delays in a changeover of project. Apart from this the work was varied and challenging, giving me real opportunity to get stuck in and learn new things.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a high level of responsibility from day 1, when I was made site admin on my teams SharePoint site. This meant I had the potential to delete large chunks of work if processes were done incorrectly. As well as this I met with vendors, emailed and phoned system users and compiled reports and surveys which were used in meetings. I felt if more responsibility was wanted, all I need do was ask.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Computational skills were greatly improved by this placement- an advanced excel training course will come in hugely useful back at university. In general the placement offers many training and development sessions which will be of use. Interns complete a 'Gallup Strength finder test' which allows you to identify your top 5 strengths- these are something I will definitely work upon and play to throughout life. 'The Hub' is also an area of Standard life that offers free training courses on everything from Outlook skills to Lync and SharePoint help. I booked myself onto a few of these courses which were very helpful.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office had a quite but very friendly atmosphere. Everyone was always willing to give up some time to chat about what they were doing or answer a question. The team building day in the second week was also a good way of getting to know people you do not sit around.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement was excellently organised. Everything from the assessment centre to the placement and accommodation had clearly been very carefully thought through and planned. There were regular training days, as well as team building and charity events. Each intern was also assigned a graduate as a buddy to talk them through any problems you did not want to ask your manager for any reason.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company were excellent in this area as well. Not only did they offer regular training as I have mentioned, but they also put on event to talk to former graduates and get a feel for what actually working at the company was like. As well as this, I was given a Bloomberg licence to allow me to practise using the system and complete a Bloomberg market concepts exam, This was despite Bloomberg being an expensive system and me not needing Bloomberg for my role.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Standard life offer a number of grad schemes every year. Although my department was not offering one in the year I was offered a position within a similar, neighbouring, department. To gain an internship you must undergo the same assessment process as the graduate programme. This means all interns have the potential of gaining a place on the grad scheme. It seems that even if there is no role available at the time you leave your internship, an application you make to Standard Life in the future will always be looked upon favourably if you have completed the internship.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Excellent. The intern community is great and Edinburgh's an awesome place to spend 10 weeks of your summer. There was a night out every Friday and during the fringe you're spoilt with choice for ways to spend your time. You'll be hard pressed not to make some really good friends whilst your here. This aspect was a placement highlight for me.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Accommodation was provided for me, and this, along with the fact the placement is paid, allowed me to save money during my internship. Not only was this a great plus, but it meant that I could go out and experience Edinburgh and the fringe without having to worry too much about money.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There is a large range of clubs, bars and pubs in Edinburgh that would suit a broad range of tastes. During the Fringe there are numerous comedy nights and shows on top of this, the former of which I would highly recommended. Living amongst interns it's not hard to find a group of people to do out with on a Friday or Saturday night.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were always interns up for playing football or visiting tourist attractions after work. A social committee was formed and this organised and subsidised a ceilidh dance for all the interns. The work/life balance of this placement was truly excellent, with me rarely having to stay past 5.30 giving me plenty of time to socialise in the evenings.