Pensions actuary for both defined benefit and defined contribution clients.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my time at PwC in the actuarial (pensions) department. It's been a great learning curve having come in with no prior experience and I now feel like part of the team.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt valued by everyone I worked with. Each member of the team took me seriously and allowed me to get involved with ongoing projects if I asked to. They also went out of their way to make sure I understood the work.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had weekly catch ups with my career coach and also my buddy who asked me how I was doing and whether I needed any support.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Intially I undertook a lot of training to give me a background of my work. After the first two weeks I was very busy and got involved in all different types of work. However I was not overwhelmed at any point and if I ever had too much work I was always offered help.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As much as I chose to have. Some projects where I felt more confident I was able to take up extra/more important work and others that were relatively technical I was able to listen in to calls with clients to get a background on what was happening.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
In terms of technical abilities, I do chemistry so the training was not directly relevant. However, in terms of life skills the training I had was invaluable as i gained a deep understanding into how pensions work and how clients like to deal with issues which I will definitely be able to take forward in my career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It was relaxed when people were less busy which was nice as it gave everyone a chance to recharge the batteries for the next day or the afternoon when they knew they'd be busy. No matter whether someone was busy or not though they would always have time to answer questions you had.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very well. Apart from the first day in the office where no one seemed to know how or when we'd be handed over to our buddies, the integration was seamless. Once I'd met my buddy on day 1 and been integrated into the team I felt as though the placement was very structured and there wasn't a time when I didn't know what was happening in terms of next steps.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
They invested heavily. From online seminars with training specific to my department which was relatively niche, to setting em up on software I'd need for my 6 weeks before I;d already arrived, the training was comprehensive. I was also provided with frequent feedback from employees of all grades both over email and also with face to face catch ups, which really aided my personal development.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very good. I have been offered a full time position for the end of university and the structure of progression and full financing of actuarial qualifications is very appealing. My buddy clearly communicated to me the options that were available to me and how the career progression at PwC works which seems very good for a young person/graduate straight out of university.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes. I was unable to attend the initial nationwide introduction to PwC due to university exams, but as soon as I arrived at my regional office I met my fellow interns. We all kept in contact via a whatsapp group chat and went out for drinks after work a few times and were joined by our buddy's the first friday to help us get to know them on a more informal basis which was nice.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived at home so I didn't have to pay any rent and drove in which took around 35 minutes each morning. Parking was £9 for 24 hours which I consider to be reasonable and food and drink was relatively reasonably priced as Reading town centre was within walking distance so there was a wide variety of shops to choose from. I think it could be as cheap or as expensive as you were to choose. I often bought my own lunch in to save money.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Not bad. Due to the town centre location there were a selection of bars that we would go to after work. Due to my commute it was rare I stayed out late due to either train time restrictions or having to drive home. However the nightlife is definitely in Reading if you want it. I am at university in London and obviously on this scale it is a lot smaller but coming from Oxford I'd say it is relatively comparable to this.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
A few. Having found out I play football, the staff ran a five-a-side league and reached out to me to see if I would like to be involved. Unfortunately it wasn't until 8pm on a tuesday and wednesday and therefore i wasn't able to attend due to commitments at home around this time in the evenings. There were also quizzes and our team had fortnightly lunches in town which was good and got the team together outside of the office environment.