Working at Groupe SEB UK was a very enjoyable experience. The team was friendly and capable while the work was varied and challenging. There were many fantastic activities as well, such as a summer boat party during my first week! Since the subsidiary is small, you get a sort of family vibe from the office which is very welcoming.
The finance department at GSUK is quite small so I received a substantial amount of responsibility once I was trained. I was lucky enough to be part of several store audits which certainly made me feel like a valued asset of the team. Also, getting to know the rest of the departments through collaborative work (or on work do's!) really helped me integrate into the team.
I was given a lot of guidance throughout my placement. There was a lot of hands-on training rather than training documents which made it feel a lot more involving, but less structured. In addition, the tasks had set deadlines during the month which were not clear to me in the beginning which added to the unstructured feel. However, there is a monthly planner which details the tasks and it just takes getting used to the language.
This varied a lot! At the start of the month I was always very busy with reporting and near the end I was busy with processing but in the middle there was some downtime. In the beginning this was filled with training and when I was more competent, I began receiving project work which was good to keep busy with.
For most of the placement I had a decent amount of responsibility, as much as would be expected from a finance intern. However, my supervisor left the company during the year and I was sort of thrust into a position of teaching my new supervisor about the parts of the role that were related to me. Therefore I feel that I received a lot of responsibility. The small-company feel adds to this with the sales and marketing departments often coming with requests to delve into their figures.
My placement was varied in scope and involved a lot of different aspects. Of course, I learned a lot about how accounting works in a private company and developed my skills on Excel and accounting software. This knowledge will be invaluable going forward into final year and getting a graduate job. I also learned a lot about working in an office and a small company which, again, is invaluable.
The atmosphere in the office was very friendly! In the finance department everyone is so welcoming and willing to have a chat (work permitting), it really felt like a family. Of course, when busy periods arrived the atmosphere quietened but there was a great feeling of camaraderie. The office banter deserves a mention, it was fantastic having conversations about topics spanning video games, what kind of font you were and the like!
I think the organisation was not as strong as the other aspects, mainly because I was the first person to do the role of full-year finance placement at GSUK. It felt like a lot of ad-hoc tasks with some structure but this smoothed out towards the end of the placement when the role was more defined. This role is very early in development stages and while it does feel a little unorganised, I imagine that it provides far more variety than other finance placements.
I received a lot of training in many areas, not just accounting knowledge. When I first started I was able to go on professional Excel training and used this to develop my first macro. Being a part of the shop audits really opened my eyes to different aspects of accounting professions.
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
I would love to return to GSUK after my final year and I have expressed my interest in this. Since Groupe SEB is an international company, I also requested consideration in other subsidiaries. Since my supervisor left, the finance department has been going through a shake-up so I am not sure if there will be a role for me when I finish university. Even so, I will be in contact with them for certain!
The size of GSUK meant that there were only 6 interns during the year but we got along very well. While my work did not really cross over much with the others, we always had lunch together and went to the work events. Not much happened outside of work. The work events were frequent and definitely worth going to though!
Groupe SEB is based in Windsor and as the town where the royal family live, the cost of living is naturally high. Restaurants and bars within a few blocks of Windsor Castle are normally quite pricey, save for a few small stores. However, if you are used to London prices this isn't too different.
The nightlife was quite good in Windsor, though nowhere near as good as London or a student town. There are several bars and clubs just off the high street and there are definitely enough pubs for a lengthy pub crawl! Windsor isn't too far from Reading and London so it is possible to take a taxi without breaking the bank.
Around Windsor there is plenty to do. Of course, the castle is a must-see during the placement, try to catch the changing of the guard if you can! Legoland is nearby if that's your thing and there are a ton of activities on the fringe of London so you'll always have something to do.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
28th August 2018