I worked with the innovation team providing support to the bank's internal innovation programme, StartUp.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed my internship as it was a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure to different areas with the bank, positions that are often never commonly considered. It was valuable to learn the roles and pathways of different people within the bank. However in terms of a day-to-day experience, it was difficult to gather some deliverable, individual work. This was through no fault of my manager or team, but simply due to the kind of work conducted. It was very communication based, focused around meetings so it was difficult to truly integrate within the bank but nevertheless I did enjoy my time here.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I worked on a small team, there was only 8 of us. As said before, I found it difficult to be given quantifiable work given the nature of the team. I don't feel as if I was ever given the chance to really stand out, or show what I'm capable of. While the internship project did provide relief in that case, it was still difficult to truly immerse myself.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager, Deborah Lawless, was utterly fantastic. We met regularly, she was very proactive when an opportunity came up that I could get involved in. I accompanied her to several meetings, she made sure I integrated within the team, assigning me to different tasks were working on and introduced me to several people across the bank.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
My schedule was quite unstructured, workload was based on the frequency of meetings or workshops or sessions that I could get involved with. This resulted in some days where I was very much occupied and others where I prayed for something to happen! Ultimately it is expected as part of an internship, I found the project, spotlights etc were a good way to keep occupied, although were never too indulging or stimulating.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I largely sat in on meetings, taking minutes. It wasn't much of a self-esteem booster when someone was doing the same job as me and not overly open towards collaborating. As I said my experience was very much about exposure.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I was based with the innovation, this mind-set provided me with a perspective fundamentally different to my usual financial orientation so that will absolutely stand to me. My work wasn't relevant to my Business & Economics degree, but I did certainly develop skills in communication and was given a good understanding of hierarchy within a large company.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
I worked in an innovation space which was fun, definitely different to what I expected. It fostered the mindset around creative thinking, agile work and the blue skies methodology. The team was very welcoming of me.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
RBS planned well to ensure the internship kept people occupied with the CSR day and the programme-specific project. I felt being based in Ireland left me at an inherent disadvantage when being considered for the CSR day and the End of internship event. I would've liked there to have been more interns with me in Dublin.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I found the GPL sessions to be somewhat tedious, some aspects were interesting but overall nothing stood out. I am looking to gain better insights into the qualifications offered by the bank within my closing weeks, I found it hard to understand due to the relative detachment of Ulster Bank and RBS.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Quite, I do admire the flexibility offered by the organisation. It genuinely did give the impression of a great place to work however in terms of professional development it didn't strike me as providing the best opportunities. I would consider it as a company I could thoroughly enjoy working in but not one where I could reach my max. potential
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was two interns based in Dublin. While we did grow quite close to each other, the two of us did feel detached to the wider intern/graduate community.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Workplace socialising was hard to come by, but as I go to college/practically live in Dublin at this point I did have my friends around during the summer. To fully answer the Q, Dublin is quite expensive to live in but it's where my life is at the moment.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I was the youngest in my team by quite the stretch, but to be fair to them they were good fun
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Somewhat but that was more-so through the innovation hub rather than the bank.