- I thoroughly enjoyed almost every aspect of my summer placement at BAE Systems where I was employed in the role of financial analysis. The highlight of my time at BAE Systems would be the variety of different tasks I was given the opportunity to complete and the in depth exposure to a commercial environment.
- Specifically, I was able to conduct my own independent research into my departments' shipping and sea freight costs, warranty agreements, inventory tracking procedures and pricing strategies. I also looked at debt collection and I was also given the opportunity to assist organising a conference for BAE Systems employees and I enjoyed almost every aspect of this.
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- By the end of the 12 weeks I unquestionably felt valued by the rest of my colleagues. Due to the variety of my work I had the opportunity to work with lots of different people not just in finance but in business development, commercial and aftermarket. This gave me the opportunity to prove my worth to the vast majority of my department and I was able to make a good impression.
- I was very happy with the support and guidance provided to me by my line manager. Whenever I had a problem and needed some help no matter how small or large the issue then the necessary assistance would be provided to me. For example, I was taught lots of very useful Microsoft excel techniques as well as faster ways to navigate our business intelligence tools.
- One minor comment would be that I felt the support provided to me could have been more proactive as opposed to reactionary. Whilst I appreciate that a lot of my work was independently done so it would have been difficult to pre-empt a lot of the things that I was doing I still felt more training could have been initially provided. For example, a user guide for excel and further possibilities for areas to explore perhaps should have been offered earlier in the placement.
- By the end of the placement I was generally quite busy on a day to day basis. BAE operates a flexi time work system where employees can choose their working hours so long as they are on site for the core hours of 10 - 3 Monday to Thursday. This meant that my working day was very varied as sometimes I would come into work later and others I would start earlier. Generally though I had quite a lot to do at the end.
- At the start of the placement though I was not busy enough in my opinion. Whilst I appreciate the need to begin slowly so that an intern can meet everyone on the team and learn a lot more about the business there were several days where I was sat twiddling my thumbs with little guidance at the beginning. More activities should certainly have been provided for new starters in order to keep them busier,
- I wasn't given as much responsibility during my placement as I perhaps would have liked. Whilst I had exposure to almost all areas of the business and completed several pieces of work in different sections I don't believe that the recommendations that I made will be properly looked at. Some of these suggested improvements are very simple and would improve current procedures for BAE but I feel that because I was an intern they will not be properly looked at.
- Ultimately, I learned a great deal during my time at BAE systems. The key skills that I learned were a major improvement in my ability to use microsoft excel and I now feel far more comfortable using this and other microsoft programmes. Other skills that I learned would be the ability to time manage and prioritise and autonomously running my own work load was a challenge that I enjoyed.
- I also now have significant work experience at a blue-chip FTSE 100 company which will look excellent on my cv. I scored a very high rating on my performance review and this is something that I can use as I move forward in my career. It was an excellent opportunity to network and I have made some contacts who I know I can contact for advice in the future. I look forward to the possibility of working for BAE again in the future.
- The general atmosphere in the office was quite relaxed. The workfloor is very integrated with people from different departments working adjacent to eachother which was good as it gave me the opportunity to network. The general office chat was fairly serious but there was unquestionably people who had a good sense of humour who lightened the mood.
- Generally, the internship was reasonably well set up but it could have been improved. There was not enough of a plan for what I was to be doing when I started at BAE and this was annoying as time was wasted when it could have been prepared for in the first place. There were some nice touches such as a tour of the site and a simulation machine which I did enjoy.
I would like to work in either finance or banking ultimately in my career so the opportunity to work in financial analysis for BAE was a great role for myself. We were however not given any significant training as interns which was disappointing. It is my understanding that this changes once interns become Graduates when there is a significant level of training provided for BAE employees.
- The BAE graduate programme is known as the Finance Leader Development Programme. This is a very good scheme by the sounds of things with significant training, such as the CIMA qualification, being paid for by the company. The downside is that I feel career growth may stagnate within BAE after 5-10 years and this is not something that I am looking for.
- BAE provided money for a curry night and a party within a few weeks of the interns and new starters beginning which definitely helped get to know my colleagues. There could have been a bigger attempt to get us working together but I think this problem was unique to finance interns rather than software developers and electrical engineers.
- The cost of living was relatively cheap given that Rochester is in close proximity to London. I was paying £400 a month for an adequate room which included bills so this was not too bad. Prices for beer for example were not excessive and transport into London was reasonably priced. Restaurant prices also were no more expensive than other parts of the country despite being close to London.
- The nightlife was decent without being spectacular. There are different places to go out such as Maidstone, Rochester or even into London depending on budgets/preferences. There could perhaps be more non drinking activities in the evening such as a bowling alley and cinema in Rochester as this would have given interns something to do during the week. The restaurants in and around the Rochester area were not that great either.
- There were several opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. Personally, I played football every thursday night on a pitch adjacent to the BAE office and there was also a tournament and one off match at a local stadium as well which anyone could easily get involved in. There are also badminton, squash and yoga classes where BAE employees could get themselves involved with if they wanted to .