Our First Year Internship scheme is designed for undergraduate students in their first year interested in finding more about the Bank. These internships run for six weeks giving you the opportunity to support a team on a specific project across all areas of the Bank, from technology or HR to monetary policy and banking supervision.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
This was a very mixed experience for me - last year I had an excellent internship at the Bank with a team that valued me and gave me interesting work, but this year they ignored my request to return to that team, and placed me with financial accountants who used me as an excel monkey and essentially refused to expose me to anything challenging. I spent lots of my time with no work to do, and was incredibly bored and frustrated thst I could be contributing so much more. I do not feel that the Bank even attempts to use skilled people effectively, it seems to place people almost randomly and then use them for menial, repetitive, automatable tasks. From what I have seen, this also applies to the grad scheme. That said, the Bank as a whole is a lovely workplace with lots of passionate people, and a good culture, and I loved the general scope of the work it does - but little work of interest is ever given to interns or grads.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I think that my colleagues saw me as a useful, keen pair of hands on which they could offload their most menial and obvious tasks. For example, I was given a daily four hour task that comprised of pasting numbers from emails into spreadsheets and checking that a cell remained green. It depresses me that this was their idea of a useful internship for me, but it depresses me more that I took over this task from a third year grad scheme employee with a Finance degree, and that given a small amount of software development, it could have been automated.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager met with me regularly - officially we were meant to be discussing my research project, which I would present after 6 weeks, but my team didn't give me a project. My time was split between the aforementioned daily task, and my efforts to improve some of their spreadsheets with some automating functions. Our meetings generally started with me asking for more work, only to be told that there was nothing else they could trust me with.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
In the mornings I would rush to complete my daily task which had a midday deadline, and in the afternoons I would have work to do about 50% of the time, so often I'd read the news online, or I would go for meetings with bank staff - this was actually really interesting or fun, and was encouraged by my manager. I actually met some people quite high up in management, and gave them the same complaints I write here.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Essentially zero. I was never given a task that required anything more than excel experience, and everything I did was checked, usually by two separate people. I never felt that I was particularly useful to my team, nor did I feel like I had a proper role in the organisation.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
If I hadn't been good at excel, I would now be good at excel. That's about it. I had basically no exposure to policy, learning about only a few very specific areas of the banks financial accounts. I did learn a bit about the Banks financial trading operations, but I applied for the Bank because I don't want to be a financial trader.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Friendly, but not invigorating. While in other areas of the Bank people were extremely passionate and interesting, in financial accounting people did not seem to love their jobs. My supervisor eventually admitted to me that they disliked the menial nature of their work, that when they applied they had thought it would be a financial analyst role, and that they were leaving very soon.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
While I was meant to have a research project and a presentation, because the final presentations were not HR audited, myself and many other interns were never given a project, instead being used like operations interns. This year's winners of the Banks blockchain competition, all highly skilled developers, were asked to update descriptions the banks internal website, having been promised an exciting technology internship. HR displayed an impressive inability to place people effectively, and often ignored emails and questions. My request to return to my old team, who wanted me back, was entirely ignored.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There was some training in presentation skills available, and there are lots of interesting internal lectures and seminars - my manager encouraged me to go to many.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Before this internship the Bank was my dream job. Having seen the issues in the Bank, especially it's inability to challenge it's grad students with interesting work, I can guarantee I will never pursue a career there.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes the interns went for drinks and dinner on multiple occasions.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
It's the city - not cheap. Bank pay is quite good though, above adult minimum wage but below living wage.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
It's London - I went to fabric every week (r.i.p)
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
One or two official intern drinks nights with free booze!