1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship. I have had loads of support from my colleagues at the office, and have been given a broad understanding and experience with what being an Acutuary entails. I have left the office each day looking forward to the next because the office environment is so welcoming and the work given is challenging yet achievable.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The fact that colleagues will approach me often to give me more work once I have completed their previous task makes me feel like the work I am doing is valued by my colleagues. Senior members will also approach me and will give things they know will be more challenging. I am also invited to the work socials and actively take part confirming that they really value every member.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Support was always given when needed. Even though the people had their own work to be doing, every colleague (no matter how senior) would take time out of their day to sit down and explain something thoroughly with me if I was struggling with something. Often work would be given with little/just enough guidance at first to see if I could figure out things by myself, but if needed, they wouldn't mind me dropping a message to clarify things with them.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Most days I would work longer than 9am to 5:15pm. Partly due to my longer travel in so I would do work on the train, but also because I had a lot to get on with. I am very happy that I was given a lot of work as I would never be sitting around and doing nothing, but also it meant a greater experience of what the job would be like. At the beginning the workload was very slow, but near the end it got to the point that even though I said I had too much work on, some people would still insist on giving more.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As I am new, responsibility slowly increased. By the end of the internship, I would liaise with Trustees myself, create the agendas for their meetings, speak to CET without guidance. However, this all happened within the last few weeks. I feel some more exposure could have occured nearer the beginning by following work through with one client. The responsibility I was given near the end was very rewarding.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As I am a statistics student, excel skills are vital. I have developed my excel skills hugely through the constant work on checking or creating engines/spreadsheets. Also, learning how to deal with long distance projects was important as we couldn't meet up therefore we learn to give constant feedback and regular calls to ensure everything was heading in the right direction. This can easily be transferred to my modules at uni. By working directly with the client in the project too, it will help further down the line when I become an Actuary
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Whilst remaining a professional atmosphere, my office would also encourage friendliness to ensure you feel comfortable speaking to others. Every Friday morning I would do a breakfast run by going to everyones desk and asking if they wanted anything for breakfast. This allowed me to speak to not only those near me, but also those senior, meaning they become more approachable. The Friday quizzes were always something to look forward to.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
We had some faults at the beginning with technology and office passes, but by the end of the first week in the office, everything was up and running. Some people were not aware I was only an intern which meant sometimes work was given to me that should be for longer than 9 weeks. Overall, the organisation was very good with people always giving me work and regular meet ups with my manager.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
My manager gave me an intern checklist which we discussed every week at our catch up. This checklist ensured I was getting exposure to as much as possible within Aon. My manager would speak to people or designate me work to ensure I could keep developing. Also, the compulsory modules at the beginning were useful to start understanding more of the company and its policy.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would love to work at Aon! Their graduate scheme, which we learnt more about in our lunch and learn sessions, sounds very appealing and that they have a real focus on developing you as an individual. This was also highlighted through the internship as they constantly want you to grow, I feel their values correlate with what I believe in and that I couldn't imagine working anywhere else!
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Weekly we would do social events. I attended Aon fives which was held in manchester where I played netball with other colleagues. We have done crazy golf in Birmingham, regular drinks after work, meal out in the evening and I have organised my own leaving social too as it was encouraged in order to say goodbye. Also, when I joined they held welcome drinks.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I work an hour and a half commute away from Birmingham, therefore my cost of living is very different. Birmingham itself is reasonable price and often, if it is a work event, the company subsidise the costs. There are always cheap places you can go to if you so desire such at wetherspoons or the outside cinema thats held in the summer.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I have not been out late at night as my last train is around half ten, but from the pubs I went to they can get very busy and noisy at night. Birmingham is a city centre so it is much busier than my university nightlife. Having said this, I do look forward to going to the clubs in the future as work colleagues always mention a club called Snobs.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I participated in Yoga on Fridays (free and run by work) and the netbal Aon fives. There is also bouldering most Mondays, a running club for lunchtime on Tuesdays. After work, we have gone to crazy golf and soon their is a boat trip but unfortunately this is just after I leave.