1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I had a great time at PA Consulting. The work was interesting and very challenging but by the end of the internship I was very happy with the progress I had made and the results I had produced (and PA were too!). I think PA offers a great environment not only to improve your soft skills but also serves as an exposure to new technologies.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued. During my internship I had 2 supervisors, an Engineer and a Computer scientist. They both were very helpful throughout my internship. I also felt very included within the team just based on where I was sitting. I was very happy to be able to converse not only about work but also about general day to day matters without feeling like I was intruding into anybody's workspace/time.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My supervisor's were excellent when it came to supporting me through my internship. They were constantly able to give guidance on my direction while still leaving my project open-ended such that I had freedom to implement it how I wished.
I think they provided a good mix of support to aid the general direction of the project without being overbearing and micromanaging me.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was generally quite busy. There was never really a time when I was bored or had nothing to do, which is quite good. I did feel like some days there was just too much work and not enough hours in the day to get through it all. However they were far and few and actually quite refreshing as I felt very involved in my project and there was a great feeling of success that the extra hours I was putting in was paying off towards the success of the project.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Quite a large amount. I was working on a software project and I had complete responsibility over the project. All planning, code style and implementation were down to me along with some guidance and tips provided to me by my supervisors. I was quite happy with the level of responsibility I was given and felt like I was working to produce a solution to a very real problem.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I worked as a software engineer and I think the fact that my code was reviewed and regularly checked was invaluable in order to aid my growth as an engineer. I think the skills that I gained would not only help me in further projects I complete during my degree but also in further work placements I complete.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere within the office is quite welcoming. All the people are nice to talk to whether it be about work or anything else. Unfortunately there isn't a huge number of social activities set out by the company (morale events) in order for people to feel more close knit as a team. Which is a shame as they're a great bunch to work with.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship as a whole was very well organised. On the first day there was a good amount of introductions to the company and in the first few weeks there were talks given by employees at PA which served well to introduce all the interns to the relevant teams within PA.
These were quite enjoyable as we got to see how so many teams got involved and worked together all to contribute towards a single product.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Fortunately for me, my internship was based on writing a lot of code. As my degree already exposed me to this I found that the transition was seamless and did not require any training.
There was one talk set up however which served as an intro to Git. I found this helpful (although I already was familiar with the software). More intro's like this would've been quite interesting and valuable to me.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I am seriously considering future employment with PA. I had a great time working there and would love to join the software team again.
The biggest drawback from me is that they are located in such a rural area that there isn't many services near to them (1 coop, no Sainsbury's/Tesco etc., 2 pubs). So the placement of the business is not great.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The intern cohort which I was with was great to be with. We ourselves did a lot of things outside of work together as we were a relatively small group (around 14 of us). This made working at PA more enjoyable as there was good work and a good social aspect to the internship.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Due to the location of PA, I found that commuting involved cycling + taking a train from Cambridge. Pricing of accommodation in Cambridge is quite steep and I found almost half my internship salary went on living + socialising costs.
Cambridge itself however is a great city to live in, albeit not being very close to PA.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
In the area where I worked, there was no nightlife. Non-existent. I lived in Cambridge however which had a better nightlife than Melbourn.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?