Working closely with the sales and marketing teams to provide financial support, by tracking and reviewing spend vs budget, analysing sales, spend and forecasts, as well as admin stuff and adhoc requests.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I have really enjoyed my placement year at JnJ, the work is fairly interesting and varied, you are kept busy with plenty of responsibility and learn so so much. Getting along so well with the other placements is a bonus which adds to the experience. In contrast however, due to the nature of the workload in finance and my team, some days can be quite boring.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt extremely valued, you are instantly given lots of responsibility and you are held accountable for your work. This comes with getting lots of requests and emails from other departments, but that makes you feel all the more valued. Some thing that I think could be improved and would help encourage me personally would be if praise was given more often.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Managers are always more than happy to answer questions, help you out whenever you need it and will back you up if something goes wrong. Feedback could maybe be more structured but I don't have any complaints with how it has been. I think the fact that they are all genuinely nice people means that the support they give you is natural.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Workload went in peaks and troughs, which I guess is to be expected in finance. For me the work before and after month end are always the busiest, and particularly around quarter ends. Middle weeks in Jan/Feb are particularly slow. Saying this however, I haven't had to stay late too often, and there is always things you can make yourself busy with.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As I've said before, you get given lots of responsibility right from the off, and this grows throughout the year. Quite a lot of trust is put in you and you are expected to be part of the team, so you aren't having your hand held through the process. A lot of what you do will take some problem solving and confidence in your own ability to get things done.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I have definitely developed my time management and prioritisation skills, as well as improving my work rate, which will help so much going into final year and work in the future. Although what I have learned theory-wise in my degree so far hasn't really applied, the real life experiences gained from the year are infinitely more valuable in my eyes.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Everyone is incredibly nice, easy to chat to and get along with, however in my team it did seem a bit looked down upon if you are having too much fun on the job. I don't know if this is really the case or if this is just how it came across. I think this is due to the fact that the full time employees in my team are all so busy all of the time, they don't really get the chance. Without the other placements and people my age it would've been difficult to enjoyed every day. However I know other placements in different teams have more positive experiences.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
There wasn't much communication from when we got the job to when we started, and we had to take it upon ourselves to connect with other placements. However the handover and induction period was quite good, lots of training sessions from internal and external people and I quickly felt settled in.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
They invested a fair amount, throughout the year there was no training sessions that given to our team that we were excluded from. This was usually in the form of a 'lunch and learn' session, where someone from another team would come in and teach us about a system or something, or through online tests etc.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The grad scheme is excellent, you get your CIMA qualifications paid for and have the opportunity to work abroad for a year as well as going to the headquarters in New Brunswick. I've also seen lots of people moving upwards across teams so its encouraging to see this. However being able to get a job after uni based on your placement is largely based on your team liking you or not, as they will be referencing you to whoever the hiring managers are for the grad scheme.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I've made great friends with the other placements, it helps that it's essentially 20 odd uni students thrown into a place where most of you don't know anybody else, off course it depends on the group of people though. I've been on 3 holidays/weekends away with other placements, loads of nights and days out, and we all sit together at lunch every day.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Bit expensive as its in the commuter belt, cheaper to live in Reading/other surrounding areas, not particularly convenient though
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Smokey Joes is good fun and Reading is close and easy to get to. Been on a couple of nights out in London but obviously is quite expensive. Overall it isn't great but there are places to go, which will be fun if you are fun and are with a good group of people.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Played football every Wednesday after work and there is also touch rugby which happens every Tuesday. Also lots of charity work that goes on which is easy to get involved in. Lots of things however have been cut with j&j introducing 'smart spend', so other costs not seen as necessary have been cut, meaning a lot of after work activities are no longer funded. Sport and Charity are the only things left really.