1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Overall, I would recommend this experience to anyone and would go back and do it all again if given the option. This doesn't mean I enjoyed every second. Some days were difficult, some tasks were stressful (especially at the beginning, where the learning curve is huge). But overall, my team were so supportive and GE is a very transparent and progressive company to work for.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Colleagues were always happy to help with any questions. No one treated me any differently for being an intern; work was still expected to be done one time, and colleagues would come back to ask me questions personally on work I had done. As I worked with excel on a daily basis, I was often asked for help on formulas and shortcuts.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had 2 different managers during my placement. The first manager had a very hands off approach, but would help with any questions I had or give me one on one support if I asked for it. However, the distance was difficult to adjust to initially as I felt completely unsupervised. Despite this I always knew I could ask either my manager or anyone in the team for help. The second manager I had was pro-active in monthly meetings for all employees.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I had to completely self manage the tasks I was given month by month. So to some extent I could chose to get through loads of work one day or work at a more relaxed pace the next. To start with I felt busy all the time as I learnt how to do the job. By 6 months in I could work a lot quicker and found myself with a few days each month with little to do.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Quite a lot of responsibility. Not so much that I felt like I could potentially make any serious mistakes with huge consequences for the whole team. But enough responsibility to be motivated to get work done accurately and timely. The work I was given had to be done to comply with regulatory standards, so I didn't feel like I was working on tasks that had just made to keep an intern busy. Essentially, I was doing similar tasks to everyone else on the team, they were just less complex.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
This year has been more useful than a lot of the modules I did in second year in seeing how accounting works in practice. I have learnt a lot of practical, technical skills which will certainly help me do well in my degree, but more importantly have given me an invaluable insight into accounting. I am confident now with what my options are after graduating, and have a good understanding of the different accounting qualifications that are available.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
My office was quite small so some days it was really quiet. Everyone was very friendly and willing to help. My team especially were very supportive, outgoing, and we all got on really well. There were various schemes that everyone was encourage to get involved with: GE Healthahead, GE Volunteers among others. Volunteering really brought the whole office together. I was part of a number of fundraising activities which a lot of people got involved with.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
GE itself has quite a different application process. It is organised quite well considering its a company which operates in many sectors, therefore hard it is spread out across the country and different markets. You have to pass general tests and compare yourself to the company values, then separate businesses apply for how many interns they would like and your CV is matched to their individual requirements. Final interviews are more industry specific, and you will be interviewed by your prospective manager. In this sense I think it's really well organised as you get to see where and who you will be working with. I can't speak for all placement set ups, but my workload was organised very well, and clear thought had gone into what work interns could do.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The training you receive at the start is quite limited. There is some generic training everyone has to do, but there is a lot of jargon and a lot of it didn't make sense to me the first time I did it. However, I had a 6 week long handover (which is abnormally long) and will be doing a 3 week handover, so there is plenty of time to ask the intern before you for help if you don't understand. Therefore training is more informal. For me, if there were any areas I wanted to develop, I knew I could ask my manager on how I could go about this, or if they knew of any extra projects I could to develop.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
GE has very highly regard graduate programmes which are 'Leadership Programmes'. These are generally 2 years long, made of 6 rotational placements, which can be international, and paid well with a lot of training. It is important to note an internship is not a fastrack onto these programmes. They are highly competitive, but having an internship means you can network with current grads and can ask for a reference if you chose to apply for a scheme.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
GE has a lot of placement students, however as said before we are all spread out in different areas. In HQ, the Ark in London, I believe there are a lot of interns with quite a good social scene. In my office there were about 10 interns, and we all got to know each other from the start. We did meet up every so often outside of work at the weekend, and would spend most lunches together.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cost of living quite high. I used spareroom.com to find a room and rent was about 450-600 a month. I would recommend living in shared accommodation if you are moving somewhere new, as it's nice to come back to a social house after work, especially if work has been stressful.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
A very varied, vibrant nightlife. Plenty of bars and bigger clubs with loads of different styles of music. My office generally was made up of people with families who commuted to work, so I only went out with other interns or occasionally to bars for work events a few times a year. The office Christmas party was held in the city centre, which everyone dressed up for with a three course meal. The office even had a late start time the next morning so more people could attend and not worry about being late to work the next day.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I got involved with GE volunteering, which was fun and rewarding. Through this I met other people in the office who I wouldn't normally interact with. GE runs an intern project. Ours was based around simplifying, either to save time, money or resources. We had a couple months to work on these, with a lot of support and training. We then presented to business function leaders and to business wide leaders. Most of my time was spent on my allocated work though.