1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I have really enjoyed my time working at RBS this summer. It has given me a great insight into how the technology side of a large bank works, and also taught me about the ways that businesses are operating in the 21st century. The experience has been enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it to anybody considering the internship.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I came into my team at a bit of an unfortunate time, as their project in its current form is coming to an end, and they will all move on to different work very shortly. Because of that, I simply didn't have the experience or knowledge required to contribute significantly to the work being done (compared to if I had come in at the start of the project), and so tasks were often very menial and repetitive. That being said, my team made me feel very welcome and did their best to give me work that would stretch me, as well as giving me a good amount of responsibility.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My line manager was very receptive to my feedback during weekly 1-to-1 meetings, and responded to my suggestions. The project manager was also very supportive, particularly for a research project I had to complete as part of my internship. Overall I felt very pleased at the amount of support I was given.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
As mentioned previously, there was often not a lot of work for me to do, which resulted in me having to stretch simple tasks out to fill the available time. However, this is not representative of the internships as a whole, but rather the situation that my team are in. My motivation did dip a little at the start, but overall I kept trying to find new things to do, and also took on extra tasks as my team got busier.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was responsible for seeing two JIRA tickets through to completion. I was very glad to have the opportunity to do this, as it meant I had tangible work which I was responsible for, and it also gave me key skills such as presenting to stakeholders in signoff meetings. As part of my project, I also overhauled our team's visualisation process, which resulted in me being responsible for the day-to-day upkeep of various trackers and tools.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I have learnt a lot about presentation skills, which will be very important in the future. I also have improved my time-management skills, and in general increased my motivation and focus, which is going to be key to me in my final year at university. Wherever I go from uni, I think my internship has made me an all round better employee.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was very relaxed, and I very soon felt comfortable with the other members of my team, despite their seniority. The building at Gogarburn is easily the nicest office block I've ever seen, and the fact that there is so much emphasis on employee wellbeing means that nobody resents coming in to work each day.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Overall, I think the organisation was very good. There was a lot of support before starting to make everything run as smoothly as possible, and the structure of the internship was great. However, the onboarding process was far from seamless, with access to vital systems taking weeks to be granted, something which I thought would have been very easy to initially set up. I am very concerned that, if I came back to work for RBS in future, the same time-consuming process would be in place again.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There were lots of opportunities for training. In particular, I used Skillport a lot to learn various technical skills including Excel and SQL. There were also opportunities presented to further career opportunities such as CV development, as well as the Enterprise Hub to encourage pitching and presenting. Although I did not use all of these resources, there were lots of options available to us.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would really like to come back on the Graduate Programme, as I believe it offers a great opportunity to young people, especially if you don't know what you want to do with your career. Everyone I have spoken to within the organisation really enjoys their time there, and the fact that there are people with 30+ years of experience here shows that RBS is a good place to work. The relaxed atmosphere and work-life balance is also very encouraging!
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Most of the interns I met were not local to Edinburgh, so we all quickly became friends and organised a lot of social events together (particularly helped by the fact that the World Cup started at the end of our first week!). Edinburgh is a really great place to be during the summer, and with the Fringe coming up, I am sure that there will be lots of social events still to come!
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Compared to major cities in England, Edinburgh is relatively cheap. However, as I had to get a short term let on a flat which overlapped with the dates of the Fringe, rental prices are relatively high. If you are coming from a smaller city or town, then you will probably find it quite expensive. For example, I study at Warwick and live in Coventry, where my rent on a house is just over half the price of my rent on my flat for the summer! Cost of socialising was okay - again, compared to larger cities it was quite cheap, but if you are used to smaller towns you may find it expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I'm not a massive club person, but there are lots and lots of bars, pubs and clubs for you to go to. As the Fringe starts, there are also a number of late-night shows and other less alcohol-focused socialisation opportunities available.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
This depends largely on your social circle. I was invited along to play 5-a-side football with a team of interns and grads once a week, and you can also get involved with lots of activities such as going to the cinema, pub quizzes, etc. Edinburgh has a lot of stuff going on, especially if you are not used to living in a very busy city, and there are also lots of tourist opportunities.