1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
At first it was a little slow working in software development, because it took a long time to get set up and get permissions to access internal systems, but once it got going the work was interesting and fulfilling, and I certainly learnt a lot. The intern summit was definitely one of the best parts of the experience, as it includes an all-expenses paid trip to San Francisco with all the other Visa interns from around the world.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Everyone in the office was very eager to help, and I got to know a lot of different people from different areas of the business while I was there. The strongest example of this was the internal hackathon, which many people from different backgrounds came together to build whatever we wanted.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My supervisor struck a good balance between giving support when needed, and letting our team of interns proceed with our projects independently without micromanaging. At the start there were useful training sessions organised for us (as well as one or two not so useful: do technology interns really need a full day to learn how to use Microsoft Office), and I received valuable feedback from mid-term performance reviews.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
This certainly fluctuated: at the start there were days when we could do little other than reading training material, but once we got going the work was interesting, and not too heavy as to be stressful. I would say it settled down to a very good balance, though it took a few weeks to get there.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The internal hackathon was the greatest opportunity for leadership, and then after that I was able to build upon these experiences to develop the project further, with the support necessary to navigate the corporate structures, but as much responsibility within the project as was practical. Overall I was impressed at the amount of responsibility I was given, as it was definitely more than the impression I got after the first couple of weeks
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The most transferable skill I picked up was project management, using agile methodology to keep the work on track at both a micro and macro scale. Additionally, I picked up new technology frameworks that I have continued to develop since, and I believe will prove a valuable asset for my CV in future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
On the whole it was fairly relaxed, with several social events organised, especially for the interns and new graduates. The office had a table tennis table, which the interns played at during our lunch breaks most days, and the kitchen was a great place to catch up for a chat with anyone around.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
It was the first year that Visa Europe has hosted interns, and so there were certainly a few holes in the system, but on the whole it was very well-run. I’m sure that with a year’s experience, the 2019+ cohorts will have everything running smoothly. The intern summit, organised by the global Visa Inc, was extremely well-run, and it was an amazing opportunity to see what the rest of the company was up to too.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There were lots of introductory sessions at the start (some more useful than others), and we had access to an internal learning platform with a vast array of tutorials on pretty much everything we could need.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The graduate scheme seems like a great next step into work, and the variety of experience they offer over the two years will I’m sure be fulfilling and useful way to continue my employment with them. I’m looking forward to the career to come after I finish my studies at university!
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes, the interns on my team got on very well, and we spent some enjoyable evenings together, as well as spending our lunch breaks playing table tennis. At the start, Visa did a really good job of organising events so we could get to know each other, which really helped to develop links between my department and the departments of other interns too.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The Reading area was not particularly cheap, but living and going out in London is many times more. Visa did offer a relocation stipend, which definitely did help with the cost of moving and living in the new area. As it was during the summer, accommodation was not too hard to find, thanks to the help of the relocation agents, who found unused student accommodation.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I didn’t really go out clubbing much, more down to personal preference than lack of availability, but from what I understand it was there, though not as exciting in Reading as the possibilities in London. However, the transport options were good, especially as we frequently had meetings between the two offices, so we could spend evenings in London too.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The hackathon was the best example of this, but there was also a football tournament between the different offices. However, almost all the employees were much older than the interns, so there was not a great deal of shared interests outside of work. Instead, our group of interns organised activities for ourselves.