1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My aim was to get an insight into banking to see if I wanted to pursue a career in this field. Additionally, I had never worked for an organisation for a longer period of time so it was interesting for me to see how the employees worked together as a team to perform and achieve goals. I also thought that it would be interesting to independently manage some activities/projects and complete them within a given time frame. Therefore, for me, one of the highlights has been working for a longer period of time and becoming integrated in a team, in addition to seeing my contributions to the organisation first hand. It has been a good experience to see how the employees work together and how different competences mean everyone brings different strengths to the team. This, together with increasing my knowledge of banking has been the major highlight of the summer.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The team were very welcoming and the atmosphere in the office is very positive. As a summer intern, I have had the same level of exposure as the other employees and been engaged in some out-of-office activities. Overall, the employees at the branch were very welcoming and the atmosphere in the branch is of a good balance between professionalism and fun. It was also satisfying to see how I could help my colleagues, even with the simplest of tasks, and the responsibility I was given demonstrated that they valued my help.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The assignments that I was given were almost always accompanied by clear instructions and if not, I would have someone to ask for clarifications (usually this would be the person that gave the task to me). There were always other employees in the office that I could ask for help with my assignments when it was needed. Throughout the summer, I had regular catch-ups with the branch manager, which were useful to raise questions and reflect on what I had done/wished to do going forward.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Overall, I was generally busy day to day, but if I had a spare moment I made sure to use the time effectively through asking for more work or completing some e-learning to enrich my knowledge. At the beginning of my internship, I spent most of my time working on customer due diligence. As I adapted to the tasks, I progressed into helping with more advanced assignments such as corporate on-boarding, payments and current account switching.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The decentralised approach within the bank means that all employees have to take responsibility for their actions and work. Consequently, I took responsibility that my work was completed to a good standard. However, I still had the peace of mind that some of my most important work was authorised by another colleague. As my knowledge of banking at Handelsbanken developed, I was given more responsibility in terms of supporting other team members with their tasks.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I received training on the various banking systems as well as that required to complete the specific tasks. Additionally, I competed some e-learning to broaden my horizons within specific areas of the bank, such as AML and guarantees. It was also the first time that I worked at a company in a team for this length of time, so found it interesting to see how the employees worked together to perform. The summer internship allowed me to grow in confidence in a professional environment and has given me to insight to be interested in pursuing a career in the bank.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
There was a warm atmosphere in the office and everyone was very welcoming. Handelsbanlen's culture and decentralised approach really shone through in the team - everyone valued and respected each other. The team atmosphere was also positive, with the employees taking some opportunities for general chats throughout the day whilst at the same time being mindful of each other's workload.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was structured around a main project and then I had the opportunity to help out with daily tasks and experience the work that other colleagues, including the managers, did over the summer. I had regular catch ups with the branch manager, which centred around discussing my progress and what what I'd like to get involved with during the forthcoming weeks. Overall, the internship was smoothly run and I didn't face any major challenges.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
At the beginning of my internship, I was required to complete some compulsory online learning modules. The main purpose of this e-learning was to educate employees on important topics such as data protection and conflicts of interest. Nearly all of my training over the summer was in-branch, meaning that it was from another team member. The employees took it in turns to teach me various aspects of the AMS role, including the computer systems and more specific knowledge to complete my assigned tasks. I also had the opportunity to visit the regional Head Office and this allowed me to explore the support functions to the branch including personnel, credit, business support and finance.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
There were no perks with
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The bank’s culture is really one that stands out to me and the decentralised approach certainly appeals to me – one where everyone is valued equally and takes personal responsibility. I have been provided with positive experiences both from my colleagues and the tasks done within the bank. I certainly feel that banking at Handelsbanken is a career path that I could see for myself in the future, partly due to the plentiful development and opportunities within the bank as well as the culture and people.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The office culture is very positive and different members of the branch socialised together, not just us interns. My branch had three interns over the summer meaning that we were able to socialise over, for example, lunch. There was also an induction day at regional Head Office at the beginning of the internship programme, which introduced us to our role and got the chance to meet other interns, some of which I have kept in contact with.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I worked in Birmingham and already had student accommodation there meaning that my costs of living and travelling weren't too high. Travel around the city by pubic transport is both reliable and affordable, meaning it is unnecessary to drive to work. A few of us from the branch also went out for weekly lunches.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife in Birmingham city centre is good, with plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and clubs on offer. Due to the size of the city there is something for everyone.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
We had some branch drinks out and meals and a few of us went out together for weekly lunches. Due to the summer months being busy with holidays etc. there were not as many social activities as per usual. I was invited to an event during my internship and even one after I had finished my internship, demonstrating that interns are welcomed and integrated into everyday life in the branch.