Summer Intern in Systems Engineering
I thoroughly enjoyed my internship at BAE. I was given one project that involves a fair amount of research design and intuitive leaps. The end result (regardless of if you managed to complete everything that was asked by you) is a real sense of job satisfaction and pride in what you have accomplished.
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When I was given my project to complete at BAE I was explained how this linked in to the work other people around me where doing. I therefore felt like an equal part of the team and are immediately trusted with responsibility and a valued opinion. It is easy to ask questions without feeling annoying or disruptive and everyone is willing to help in any way they can
I was given a fair amount of support by my advisors whenever I needed it along with regular check ins. I personally prefer to work relatively solo on a daily basis so I was able to update my supervisor with how I was doing by email regularly, and then had meetings at any point I felt it necessary. It was good to feel like I was trusted to ask for help when I needed it.
The main project I completed took up a majority of my team and I felt like I had a suitable work load. I had smaller additional tasks that would crop up every week, and these I was able to complete at any point I reached a blocker with my project, and return with a clear head after I had completed. At the end of the internship once a majority of work had been completed I found myself occasionally bored, but this is to be expected in the last couple of days.
The project I was given was entirely my responsibility and my own to plan and take control of and approach how I saw fit. This gave me a chance to test my skills and adapt my methods of working from university life. While I asked for verification whenever I was uncertain, I found the working environment very flexible and while it was my responsibility to take ownership of this project, if I was lost on how to proceed suggestions and direction was given to me by not only my supervisor but any colleague around me who felt they could help.
I feel as if my communication and group skills have improved greatly whilst on this internship. I have learnt the value of keeping others in the loop of what you are doing regardless of if you need assistance. I was given plenty of opportunity to stretch and try things outside of my home discipline. My knowledge base and ability to change what I'm doing quickly has advanced tremendously throughout the 12 weeks I was placed and the experience was invaluable.
The atmosphere was professional but friendly. As a woman I was nervous about entering a male dominated office, however this worries where not necessary as I felt comfortable from the start. With a mix of disciplines and backgrounds in the area it is easy to suggest and bounce around ideas for others input. It is also easy to ask anyone around for help regardless of what you are each working on. It was a welcoming environment where I was appreciated as one of the team
The placement itself was well organised I knew where to go on the first day. However the more comfort side of the internship could've been better organised. While I was assigned a buddy when I first joined I had little contact with them throughout the placement and I would've appreciated some more input in terms of what to wear and how much to budget for meals etc. A chance to get to know the other interns before the placement began would've been greatly appreciated. Anything prior to the internship starting was left for myself to find and make a sensible assumption
There are mid term and final reviews during the placement. And objectives are assigned when you first start. The objectives are not simply blindly assigned but they were discussed between myself and my manager. I was asked if there was anything I was interested in trying or getting to see while I was here and if there was anything I was interested in working on. Through this in addition to my project I was able to talk to and visit other areas of the site and talk to people doing a variety of different projects.
I plan to return to the company after I finish university and join the graduate scheme following the placement. I feel like there is a large variety here and while I only experienced a small amount of the company, the varying opportunities to advance and experience different areas are clear from my short time here and I am confident that the grad scheme will further build upon skills I have learnt over the summer. After I had completed my summer internship in my final review I was offered a place on the grad scheme for after my final year at university.
There is a good social connection between all the summer interns and industrial placements. At the beginning of the internship there was a BBQ put on for all the interns and grads which was great for getting to know and chatting to different people. It also meant that we got to know some of the graduates. Apart from that at the beginning there was little opportunity to socialise with the graduates and most was done between the interns and placement students. All of the interns got together quite frequently and formed a strong bond. However I feel this may simply be due to the overall short time in BAE and that this wouldn't be an issue for a longer placement.
I am lucky enough to already be living in this area prior to the internship and in addition grew up round here as a child, so in terms of rent and housing I was already set. I don't think it is expensive to socialise around here as there is plenty of different options for food and drink if you are willing to move around for a 10-20 minute drive. However if you do not drive the cost of public transport can add up and it becomes somewhat expensive to get around. If this means you therefore stick within walking distance of the office you are much more limited to what is available to you.
As I am already from this area I know where to go and the driving distance, there are plenty of bars and pubs around to go to, however if clubbing is more your style there is little choice (2), the most vibrant nightlife is a 20-30min drive away, which for many other interns was too far however I consider this fine. The good thing about this area is that the nightlife around is not expensive.
There was little to no opportunity to get involved in things outside of work to my knowledge. Whilst a couple of sports opportunities where mentioned briefly, there was nothing else. Also there was no real encouragement to join and it wasn't made particularly aware to us as incentive to come along. Activities outside of work where arranged independently between all the interns, which was lucky as there was 12 of us so we had a sizable group.