1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Exceeded anyone's expectations by a huge amount.
I felt part of each team just like a graduate (2 rotations), I was given as much responsibility as I could handle, I could speak my mind and discuss the best way to do something (e.g. which data to collect), the analysts allowed a good team spirit, there were social drinks.
It was also quite an experience because we were encouraged to speak to people from as many desks as possible to get an understanding of their job, we had I think weekly series over lunch where a given desk would explain what they do and welcome questions (with a special focus on tech), we even went to the theatre to improve our communication skills!
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
People here like the interns and do not consider them an "inferior species". You will be the youngest in the room and that's good. They will appreciate if you are someone easy going, not afraid of speaking your mind, showing a lot of curiosity and giving your opinion. Because they are couting on you to deliver high quality work, you are quite important to the team. If there are social drinks, you will be invited!
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
This is really person specific as people have different working styles and personalities.
In my first rotation, my analyst asked me to have as much autonomy as possible because he did not like to babysit. Which is good if you have some idea what you are doing and are proactive, otherwise it is a nightmare. Nevertheless, of course, I still asked him many questions.
In my 2nd rotation, my analyst was the opposite, much more keen on providing frequent support.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I had plenty of tasks to do, so I was always busy just like everyone else in the department. Bear in mind, in Equity Research you do not work weekends.
I remember perhaps a couple of hours twice having nothing to do simply because I finished faster than expected. When that happened, I did not sit idle, but rather read reports to get more familiar with my team's research.
If you demontrate you are good enough, you will be as busy as everyone else because you are part of the team.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The kind of work is identical to what a graduate would do. As I said before, you will be considered another team member.
The mentality is: can he/she do it? so the sort of responsibility you get, as you might expect, totally depends on you. If you have some experience from school in building financial models, and that's needed, you will do that! If you know Excel pretty well, you bet you will try to improve some workbooks. And you will be god if you know VBA!
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The weekly series were instrumental to have a complete picture of how the markets side of an investment bank work.
We were given substantial tasks to work within Excel and to pull data from different databases (e.g. bloomberg, eikon), which is applicable to many jobs.
The communication workshop in the theatre was quite eye opening to see our weaknesses but also strenghts as compared to other very talented interns.
In my case, I was already planning to start my career in equity research, so that after this internship, it became obvious what to do next!
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
As expected people use formal attire and are all pretty busy and so focus on their work.
I'd say it is a good atmosphere, people get along well, no one is speaking too loud, people are approachable. We can play table tennis in the cafetaria!
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I was astonished by how well the HR organized this! Everyone was allocated to their desks well before we started, the analysts already had work for us to do, the HR had already planned our weekly series with different desks and a few activities outside RBC. We had almost 2 weeks training, quite comprehensive in terms of accounting, valuation, excel and financial markets (with very enthusiastic professors, too bad ours from uni aren't like that!)
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The invest was quite high to be honest.
We had almost 2 weeks of class room training, including financial markets (equites, fixed income, ..), accounting, valuation, excel. This is pretty good for someone without much expertise here from school.
We had weekly series where people different desks would explain what they do, which was very insightful.
We also had an online platform with modules where we could learn a bit about pretty much everything within the context of financial markets
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
RBC is growing quite a lot in London! My understanding is that it is an exception in the investment banking landscape. To give you an idea, we are moving in 2020 to new headquarters in liverpool street!
Within research itself, the headcount is going up despite all the structural issues people are talking about in the industry. The feeling is quite good!
I got a graduate position right after the internship finished.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
We got along pretty well within research, not so much with everyone else from markets because we were physically close but not that close to each other. This totally depends on you, how eager you are to get to know people, but sure don't expect to be friends with everyone, we all have different personalities.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
We are in the City of London, so I guess it is as expensive as it can get.
We have our own small canteen which is not expensive and I really like it (other's not so much) so no need to go outside and wait in queues.
There are tons of bars in the surrounding areas, especially by the river which is great!
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
In the City itself there's not much, but I was not very interested in going out too close to the office anyway.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
We did have a few activities: a communication workshop in an awesome theatre, went to a charity, there was some sort of peddy paper activity (that did not work very well if you'd ask me). We also had social drinks within our department, which was a great opportunity to meet lots of people.