1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The internship was very enjoyable, the work was stimulating and valuable to the company- I really appreciated being a valued team member. My colleagues made an effort to invite me to social events/ team lunches to get to know me so the work/life balance was great! All in all, it was an enjoyable 10 weeks.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt valued as not only a team member who produces useful work and outcomes, but also as a member of the departmental community. Everyone I met was very willing to give up some of their time to help me with work or just have a chat about my weekend! I was reassured that my 10 week projects had real business valued and this was evidenced by the amount of people who were interested in coming to my final presentations to discuss the outcomes of my work.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was given an adequate amount of support by my manager. During my time at the company, a lot of change was occurring and my manager was sympathetic to me and explained that she could not devote as much time to me as she first has hoped to. Despite that, I had weekly 1:1s with my managers and she was willing to help with any day-to-day issues that I encountered with regard to my projects. The amount of guidance allowed me to use my own initiative and take the projects in the directions that I was interested in.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
My busyness varied, the first few weeks were quite quiet, and looking back I understand that this is because they were easing me into work. When I had presentations to prepare I was quite busy, especially as I was producing work for my team as well which had set deadlines. My daily schedule often comprised of 2-3 meetings and frequent development sessions. I had plenty of time to do my work and there was never a need to work overtime of more than 30 mins.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
For an intern, I believe that I was given more responsibility than my peers undertaking internships with other companies. I had two projects with valuable business outcomes and I was also assisting my team by undertaking work whilst colleagues were away on holidays. I can honestly say that I was treated like a permanent member of staff and I ended up liaising 1:1 with external clients by the end!
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My degree is in Geography, so an internship in finance is unlikely to assist me in my degree. However, for me the value of this internship is the understanding I have gained and the wide variety of roles that make up a financial institution. I am now confident to apply for grad jobs and more importantly for specific roles that I now understand. I received a good amount of training and I feel ready to go into work full time after my studies.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It was a really positive atmosphere, my colleagues were quite chatty and it was nice to have such a friendly environment. However it was also a professional atmosphere, there were often times where everyone would simply be getting on with their work and the only noise were those speaking to conference calls on headsets.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
It was a really well organised internship, I had a schedule from HR with weekly ‘intern’ development sessions to attend and the date of my final presentation was scheduled right from the start. The projects that I was given were of the right length, I had my own desk, a buddy who was in contact with me months beforehand and the department were quite clearly expecting me.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I believe that the firm invested a lot in me in terms of time and resources. I attended weekly ‘development’ sessions these included: presentation skills, strengths finder and talks from senior management. Also, one of my projects was overseen by the most senior member of the 60 people strong department, I really valued the time that he invested in me.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very appealing! The perks, social life and development prospects are great. The company place a large emphasis on developing young people and there is a growing community of younger members of staff. I would really love to work for this company again and, all being well, I should be back for the grad job starting next year after I graduate.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes! There were about 25 interns and the company was keen for us to meet up- within the first week we had a ‘welcome drinks’ event and HR would often send round group emails with posters for Pub Quizzes on for us to get involved with- this really helped to create an intern community. My department were also keen to socialise, I was even invited to leaving drinks for colleagues that I hadn’t met!
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Edinburgh is obviously much cheaper than London, so going out never broke the bank. Also, the company kindly set us up with accommodation, so that was an expense that I didn’t have to worry about. The area that the office is in is a very nice part of time, so eating out with colleagues was occasionally more expensive than I would have liked.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlight was pretty good. After work drinks on a Friday or Thursday were a regular occurance. Then I would often go out with my other interns friends that I had met at the weekends. As most the interns were also still students, were went to typical student type clubs which were still quite busy and drinks were cheap!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
HR and colleagues were forever emailing me about running clubs, pub quizzes and social events. Everyone understood that I wasn’t from Edinburgh and that I had limited plans and knowledge of the city! These events were typically in the evening or during lunch time and really helped me to form a network.