The placement was beneficial overall; however it was quite difficult to enjoy due to the politics within the company. You would find that if you ever completed work to a high standard, there would be a manager who would try to claim that work. Likewise, if mistakes were made then instead of constructively criticising, you would be laughed at and progress would be slower.
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It really depends on who you are working with. There always seems to be Managers who do not seem to value your work or contribution and will not say thank you when you have helped them. Yet, there are also some that really value your contribution and effort…it is a shame though as I would have preferred everyone to show common courtesy.
Throughout the first few months of my placement I was not given support and guidance. Within the scheme you are supposed to have weekly meetings with managers to set goals and make sure that you are progressing, which sounds great…but unfortunately I did not have this experience and consequently my progression was far slower than other placement students. It really depends on who your manager is though and what team you are in. Towards the end of the placement the guidance was much better and I learned much faster.
Often I was not very busy. You have to go and ask for work from the rest of the team; however the issue is that this work will be the laborious/admin tasks that no one wants to do. This type of work did not benefit and would discourage you from asking again. Likewise, when I was given a big and challenging task and completed it to a high standard, the manager who I helped claimed all of the work was their own.
You are undoubtedly given a very high amount of responsibility. I was in charge of one very big account (with my manager) and one smaller account (by myself). This was probably the best part about the placement because you do have to make key decisions which will impact large amounts of money for the company.
Despite not particularly enjoying the placement, the skills will definitely help me to a large extent in the future. I think that it is important to also gain experience in other areas of business though as well because you are quite focused on one or two skills such as accounting.
The atmosphere improved towards the end of the year when winter ended and people began to take part in sports and go outside for more breaks. During the autumn and winter it was quite a dull atmosphere as you enter and leave the office in darkness, which seemed to affect most peoples’ attitudes. This obviously can't be helped, apart from perhaps offering more indoor activities to meet more workers.
I think if the managers had weekly meetings every week then it would have been set up very well. Likewise, you are supposed to have a ‘contact manager’, which is someone higher up that you talk to if there is an issue. About half way through the year this was realised because most departments had them, but a couple of departments found that their contact manager had not done anything.
The training and development was good, but you did have to go out and beg for more work which just seems ridiculous. If they invested more time in you and gave you a greater chance to show your potential then it could be a great opportunity. Likewise, they should set you goals to achieve on a weekly basis to see how you progress and develop.
Within the first month I realised that this job was not for me…not in terms of the style of work, as the role suited me very well…but in terms of the atmosphere, politics within the office and surroundings. Likewise, the culture is poor within the business unless you arrange events and extracurricular activities yourself.
Placement students did sometimes try to meet up and have a good social atmosphere. Unfortunately, people living away from Clapham did not get the opportunity to meet up as much but were invited to events still. The placement students did have a group Whatsapp chat though which worked quite well.