Interning within Operations stream - back office processes that support trading and business transactions.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my time at Standard Life Aberdeen. I was working in the Aberdeen Standard Investments part of the company, on the Business Operations Summer Internship stream. The work was enjoyable, and the intern programme run by the HR team was excellent and you received lots of training across the 10 weeks.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued by my colleagues. I was given a sizeable project which was fairly self-directed that allowed me to add value to the teams I was working across. I got to liaise with various people cross-department to gather data for my work. The team were really friendly - and in fact everyone I met across the company was friendly and willing to have a chat with you about their role and career progression.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My managers were excellent - I had lots of contact with my line manager as well as the head of the department where I was placed. They were always on hand to support any difficulties I was having or to help me develop the projects in the direction they were looking for.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The first few weeks were a bit slow as I had to do a lot of online compliance courses, and my project took a while to set up and get running properly. However, I was rarely without something I could be working away on - and the training programme provided lots of time for development work and skills practise.
After my project was fully underway I was petty busy all of the time!
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given quite a lot of responsibility as I was developing an internal website for a department that involved 6 teams. I wasn't hugely involved in BAU, but I did have responsibility handling sensitive documents and making sure that deadlines were met properly. There was also a lot of exposure to sensitive information, so you had to be careful and be trustworthy.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The training was excellent from two perspectives. I received formal training on communications skills, presentations, excel and process improvement as part of the Intern programme - which was useful. But the greatest skills I left with were the experiences of working in a business, co-ordinating with teams, meeting deadlines and learning to navigate a complex operational structure
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
very friendly, people were very relaxed and chatty, but there was a lot of hard work that went on. People were always willing to have a chat and explain things to you - there really was a culture of 'no stupid questions'. my team often went for drinks after work, occasional dinner out and trips to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival too.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very well organised - HR have an early careers team that developed a structured 10-week programme of training including excel training, presentations and communications skills workshops, as well as organising seminars with senior leaders in the company to chat about their careers. We also had a day out of the office working with a local charity.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Good investment - they paid us well, and also helped people relocate - accommodating us in serviced apartments if we had to move for the summer. We had lots of training available, including free online courses. People were willing to spend time with you and there was a real focus on your development as a person, not just as an asset to the company.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
future employment prospects are very appealing - at then end of the internship you are given the change to interview for the Standard Life Aberdeen graduate scheme - so they do give you a good opportunity to potentially stay with the company. Within ASI itself there is a culture of valuing people who work hard and career progression seems to be achievable for most people
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Brilliant social scene among the intern cohort - there were about 20 of us in the compnay accommodation - se we sent a lot of time together, went out for drinks, meals, festival shows. I was sharing a flat with another intern which was a great way to get to know people - had lunch together every day too!
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Edinburgh is probably one of the priciest places in Scotland, however, the company paid for our accommodation so that made things much easier. Lots to see and do in the city itself and a good gateway to explore other parts of Scotland too. Can get a good meal out for £15-20 and plenty of bars/pubs to socialise in too. Edinburgh Fringe Festival is great - real buzz about and hundreds of shows (many are free) to go and check out.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Seems great - I didn't go out all that much but there loads of bars and pubs, as well as a goof few nightclubs with a variety of music styles - alternative, Spanish salsa, cheesy pop, chart music etc. There are also lots of arts venues - opera, concert hall, theatre that are full of amazing shows - some with student or company discounts!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Not a huge amount that I'm aware of - although partly because I wasn't here for all that long. As a group of interns we socialised outside of work a lot, but not so much with colleagues.
However, there are loads of networks within SLA who do organise activities - Young People's Development Network, Veterans, Lighthouse (LGBT+), who definitely organise events and activities.