1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Overall a positive experience. Work load can be heavy dependent on team (16+ hours/ day, one or both days over the weekend) but that's been expected. Face time is discouraged, however there are definitely times when the workflow could have been better managed by seniors to make interns/ juniors' lives easier. Again this is highly dependent on the team.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Been able to work on live transactions and felt that I'm part of the team as I've had the opportunity to contribute to various tasks. Seniors do formally/ informally express their gratitude to you and you feel that the work you've done had helped the team (esp if your team is understaffed).
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Most of the time, esp when working with junior staff (analysts/ associates), very clear guidance is given and I can complete my tasks very effectively. With more senior supervisors, sometimes instructions can be vague/ insufficient guidance given, had to take initiative in asking further questions, and I occasionally felt therefore I couldn't perform to the best of my ability.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Average 15-16 hours a day on weekdays, weekends 10-14 hours of work. Differs from team to team/ even within teams, depending on whether you've been staffed on live transactions/ with seniors who expect you to be in the office on the weekend. Actual workflow fluctuates over the course of a day.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Overall a high degree of responsibility. Some seniors expect you to take full ownership of a client meeting book if you have established yourself as a committed and reliable team member. Some seniors prefer giving out one small bite-sized task at a time, and would check your work very closely.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Extremely useful. Studying a business-related degree and hence the insight I've gained on transactions/ the markets/ the industry would be immensely useful when I return to my final year of study at uni, and even possibly giving me inspiration for my thesis. Skills such as attention to detail and multitasking will be useful in any workplace.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Summer is a slightly less busy time for most on the team and people are generally nice. Junior staff often have dinner together in the office and go out for coffee. On slower days people even go out for a beer in the evening. Again this differs from team to team in my office.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
A lot of work is put into the organisation of the internship programme. However there are frequent small hiccups in the training and learning experience, and interns often felt that we were treated as elementary school kids by those running the training and learning programmes. This is also consistent with the recruitment experience.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
A lot had been invested into interns with a first week of various (some useful, some less useful) training sessions. Certainly helped with our work at the desk and also in terms of finance and accounting. We have also been assigned buddies formally from other teams to answer any questions we have on a professional/ personal front.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Quite positive. Most interns who perform well would receive a return offer for the full time grad programme as HR has indicated that there are enough full time spots for all interns if we all performed well. Mid and end of internship reviews are being set up to give formal feedback which is very useful.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Interns do usually do drinks on Fridays unless they have urgent deliverables on live transactions. Generally good social scene within the team or with interns from other teams. Seniors also occasionally organise larger events for the wider team and it's always good to see colleagues in a more casual setting.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Rent can be relatively expensive if you wanted to live close to the office (esp those with long hours). Overall cost of living can be slightly pricey for those not from London. Not the best area in London for food and drinks but Canary Wharf is also not far from Shoreditch and London Bridge which are better in terms of socialising.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Loads of people in the area on workdays and it's common to get a drink after work, otherwise nightlife is not spectacular in Canary Wharf. Most people would rather go elsewhere in East London/ Central London as Canary Wharf is really just a business district, so just manage your expectations.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There was a Community Day event where interns volunteered at a park nearby. Actual volunteering was only 2 hours or so that day, wasn't anything substantial, and lots of pictures were taken of interns working in the park, for publicity purposes. Interns were also expected to return to office by many of their teams after the event.