Overall I did enjoy the Insight Week. The first day as the induction day was sadly rather unenjoyable, just due to the sheer 7 hours (I think) spent in one room doing sort of slow year 9 PSHE style 'what are your values?' sessions. After this though, once we actually started learning about structured finance and the department, it became a lot more interesting. My favourite parts were probably the games and the assessment centre (surprisingly!).
The amount of contact time with not only graduates but more senior associates and directors really made us feel valued. Although the time was too short to be trusted to give anything back in terms of a project etc, the time and effort spent on the Insight Week by many people across the department was really appreciated - from games and case studies, to a marathon speed dating session!
There were so many opportunities to ask questions, and it was really strongly encouraged so that even those slightly more nervous to do so at the beginning were more than happy by the end to stick their hand up whenever. It was all really well supervised so on each day we knew who was in charge and could go to them for anything if needed.
I joked with my parents that on the second day I left the house a different person to the person who came back and it's certainly true. Although at the time it felt like tonnes of information was being thrown at us (after the induction day), I learnt so much that will not only help in a career in structured finance, but also any kind of work involving a bank in the future. Additionally, the assessment centre was my first experience of a job interview and role plays etc so will inevitably be invaluable experience for the next time I have to do that.
There was a packed timetable for the week, but things were switched around without any notice to us. It was ok in the end, once we figured out what we were supposed to be hearing! things were often running late but that was usually because so many questions were being asked and people didn't want to leave without answering them.
Overall it was very good. It was relaxed but still productive and everyone on the course was very supportive and nice. The atmosphere of the assessment centre was particularly good with the assessors being very friendly - it definitely felt like they wanted you to do well. The atmosphere only dropped when things sort of dragged on, such as 'speed dating' with associates or the induction day.
The insight was very helpful in doing this. We were able to talk to analysts and associates in all the teams which was crucial because they each have a different way of working. We were given the reality of things, which isn't all sunshine and rainbows, so one can make a well informed decision later on if it is for you or not.
Because we were able to hear from lots of different levels and teams in the department, we were able to really get to grips with how RBS is different to other banks. It is honest about the changes that have occurred since 2008 and how they affect the bank today, which was really interesting.
The Insight Week was really useful in putting actual substance behind the idea of working in finance. Being able to spend time with employees and on a floor of a bank was really helpful. I now know what a working day would be like and the kind of atmosphere there is should I choose that route.
All transport was paid for and a reasonable meal allowance was given too. For those living far out, accomodation was also paid for at nearby hotels. The meal allowance was enough for all the participants of the week to go out for dinner together on the last day which was really a highlight of the week.
There were so many opportunities to meet RBS employees in structured finance. The 'speed dating' in particular was a great way to just meet people in an easy, relaxed environment. We were also supported in these kind of sessions by reminders to ask for LinkedIn names and email addresses etc. It really put everyone at ease in a potentially daunting situation.
Yes, there are football, netball and running clubs for the more active employees. There are also lots of CSR projects that the graduates run for the department. In the summer the department goes to Regents Park to play in a softball tournament. It seems like the employees get on really well and so there is a lot of enthusiasm for these kinds of thing.