Any internship will give you valuable experience, but the Barclays program was so varied, with such a good culture, that it was a really fun 9 weeks. I met so many people from across the company, not just interns, which made it all the better and I actually looked forward to work each day!
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My colleagues were very welcoming and as soon as I joined I was made to feel like one of the team, even though I had no experience in the field I was in. Even with senior members of staff, the interns were encouraged to contribute and didn't feel like spare parts. I felt that my colleagues really invested in my experience as they knew that this was a very formative time, and they wanted me to get the most out of the internship.
My line manager and the graduate in my team were incredibly gracious with me and explained everything I had to do in great detail. Everyone I worked with or met was fantastic at clarifying what it is they were doing, and how it contributed to the wider business. In the scheme you also have a buddy and mentor to help guide you through both the day to day and your wider career goals, which was an invaluable part of the program.
Depending on the day, I could have a full calendar of meetings or else nothing at all scheduled. In any case, you get given objectives at the beginning of the nine weeks which outline your projects, so there were always things to be working towards and goals to work towards.
I had ownership over 2 projects so much of that was self directed with supervision before final submission. Obviously, I was an intern, so there was a limit to how much I could be in charge of when I was so new to the company. I was given freedom to get on with my tasks but was checked up on to make sure I could manage, so there was always an authority above me to fall back to.
I am a Maths student and the internship was in Marketing, so for my studies it wasn't helpful, but I knew that would be the case going in! I feel that I have learnt many transferable skills though, and as I want to pursue a career in Marketing I definitely have learnt so much about the field and how campaigns are run. My communication skills have certainly been tested and as a result have grown. I feel very grounded in how to work in a corporate environment whereas before I started I had never worked in a large office.
The general atmosphere was busy, but no one ever seemed too stressed. Everyone there worked very hard, so there wasn't a social feel as such, but you still felt that you could chat a little to the people around you. The office had 'hot desking' which meant you always sat in a different place so you could meet a variety of people, which I think contributed a lot to the relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The internship was well organised in the sense that there was a clear structure and timeline to what we needed to accomplish. There were regular training and insight sessions set up for us to give us a better overview of the business. The only thing I would say is that since people are so busy, meetings get move around a lot and you end up getting cancelled on or postponed being the intern. However that's really just par for the course being in a big company.
I really felt that Barclays invested a lot in the interns. We were shown a lot of variety and taught skills, which will then be so useful in our future careers - whether that's in Barclays or not. The mentorship scheme meant that I could get one on one career advice from an experienced employee which is a fantastic connection to have going forward.
If you perform well on the internship you can be offered a place on the graduate scheme for the following year, which is a fantastic opportunity to have in advance of your final year of university. If accepted on the scheme, it is clear that for future prospects you can progress in the company easily afterwards.
Particularly in our section, but also across Functions, we got to know eachother really well over the internship. We frequently went out for drinks after work or had lunch together, which was great for settling in at the beginning. There wasn't a huge number of company organised events but it wasn't that necessary when we already met up.
In London it's always going to be expensive but I have family in the city who I could stay with which cut down costs. I know that other interns had to pay pretty expensive rates to get temporary accommodation. The social aspect is pretty expensive when you have to travel on the tube, so you do have to pick and choose what you go to.
In Canary Wharf there are quite a few bars and restaurants which are great to go to after work, but not really places that we would stay late in. For a 'proper' night out you would really want to go a bit further afield so you can have more choice.
It's a big city so there always things to do! I joined a gym and went to the theatre quite a bit since I am not from here originally and wanted to make the most of being in London. The company itself had sports clubs and societies to get involved with, although being there for such a short time I didn't join any.