1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed the Investment Analyst placement with Aberdeen Standard Investments. Over the 10 weeks I made great friends with fellow interns and existing employees, and my desk were very welcoming. The 10-week project that I was given and the end of internship presentation meant that I was given ample opportunity to showcase my abilities.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Thanks to the great feedback that I received from my colleagues I feel really valued by the team. I am looking forward to joining on the graduate scheme in March- and my colleagues were full of congratulations when they found out I got the role. I think the size of the company really helps with this- big enough to mean you get to meet loads of interesting people, but small enough to get to know people well.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was lucky because my 'buddy' rather than being a grad was actually an investment manager, which meant I was able to form a good rapport with, and thus seek advice from, someone a bit more senior. This was useful when regarding how to progress throughout the 10 weeks. I also think I was matched really well to my buddy as they attended the same university as me, meaning we instantly had common ground.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Day to day my team were very busy and I was able to attend over 50 company meetings in the 10 weeks. The hours were slightly longer than some of my peers but I felt that the amount of work was very manageable. In fact, I enjoyed being busy, as some interns in other departments seemed to have to try harder to source work at times.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
If you are proactive in trying to seek work and volunteer for tasks, you can gain a lot of responsibility in this internship role. From an early stage I was given the task of carrying out meeting summaries which included updated investment theses. I also got the chance to interpret various quarterly results and reported back in team meetings. These tasks were also being carried out by the graduates in the team, so I feel this level of responsibility was very good for an intern to have.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
One area that I would like to see improved on the internship programme is the 10 week 'development programme'. Overall I feel like several of these activities were quite repetitive and uninspiring. I would have liked to have been offered more technical training e.g. a financial modelling course. Furthermore, the day of working as a think tank for a charity was badly timed; what could have been a great 'team building' activity became a burden for some of the interns as their end of internship presentations were in the next few days and their workload had increased since it was nearing the end of the 10 weeks. Instead, this kind of development activity should have been in the first week or two of the internship.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was really good. Being on the buy side means that you often get invited to events at banks, for example I attended a BAML rooftop party, and a party hosted by HSBC at Radio Rooftop.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
One of the highlights of the organisation of the internship was that free accommodation in the form of serviced apartments was offered to interns not from London. This was really valuable to me and saved me a lot of money. In addition to this, I got to live with fellow interns which made the internship a lot more sociable than previous ones that I have experienced.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Training and development could have been better, but i am happy with the knowledge that upon starting the graduate scheme the company will pay for my CFA qualification and will grant study leave to cater for this. There was an excel session but training tended to be more general rather than specific to Investments/ Operations/ Distributions.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Luckily I managed to secure a graduate offer within the team I was initially placed in. Other interns were less lucky however. A number of interns who I thought should have been hired were not, due primarily to a lack of vacancies in their divisions.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Thanks to accommodation being provided, it was really easy to socialise with fellow placement students. The accommodation building had a games room and rooftop terraces which were great for socialising in. We arranged events like meals out, comedy nights and nights out. All of this was self-organised though which was a bit of a shame. We did have an end of internship social organised by the company.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The area around Bank is obviously quite expensive, however there are some amazing bars and great food places so I really enjoyed the set up. Crosse Keys (a Weatherspoons) was also ideal for watching the world cup! As mentioned, accommodation costs were not a problem as the company provided serviced apartments.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Madison's rooftop bar is right next door! And the location is very central London so great opportunities for nightlife if you want them. I found more that the area was great for after work drinks, with people being out on the street with the pubs enjoying the sunshine and having a drink most nights of the week.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were definitely activities going on outside of work, for example volunteering opportunities, football teams, interest groups... however I didn't find time to get involved in this as an intern. Once I join as a grad I hope to get more involved.