1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed working for Barnett Waddingham. I had lots of interesting client work to do, the work was varied and enjoyable and required all of the skills which I have learned at uni to be able to complete them. I was never stuck for things to do and as part of the UK wide intern programme was pitted against my fellow summer students in a predictions league and in an investment portfolio game which were both great fun.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
All the staff were super friendly and it was easy to fit into the team. Any work which I completed was valued by my colleagues and any questions which I had about a piece of work were readily answered. Outside of work, my colleagues were very enthusiastic about me joining them for after work sports nights or social events.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
For each specific area of practice I was given a supervisor who was designed to be on hand to answer any questions which you might have. For whatever task you were doing there was always the opportunity to ask for specific advice or raise a technical query, developing your knowledge and understanding as you work.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I never felt under pressure by the volume of work which I was given which was good, and if I felt like I would have scope to pick up more work later on then I could ask for some and most of the time people were ready to present me with a new task to be getting on with.
I was never stuck for things to do because there were three summer projects which I could put some time towards if I had no available client work to be getting on with.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I had to learn quickly about lots of different technical processes to allow me to do the client work, however in this industry work is always checked by an actuary regardless of who is doing the initial work - which takes the pressure off the work you are doing to allow you to do the best job you can and gain the most experience.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills I have learned will certainly assist me in my further studies, experience in managing data and considering models used in calculations will improve my knowledge and application of statistics at uni.
I have gained a general understanding of how assets are traded and what goes on in the real world.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
When you're in the office there's a hard working environment - everyone is determined to work hard but will always be willing to help out other colleagues with any work when someone is under pressure. Everyone in the office was very easy to get along with and there were plenty of opportunities to socialise with colleagues after work.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
the overall setup was excellent, there were structured induction days in a centralised location for all of the summer students across the UK to attend and learn about the basic procedures and about company policy. Upon arrival there was a training session scheduled roughly every day to continuously expand your knowledge, whilst not learning too many new things all at once.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company devoted a large amount of time towards providing me with individual, one to one training sessions which were invaluable in developing my own skills and knowledge around the work I was doing. To have so many different training sessions given by so many different people was a real luxury which I was very lucky to be afforded.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There overall size of the teams are quite small so there hardly ever be a large demand for recruitment of new graduates. That said, the firm seem very keen to offer as many summer students as possible the chance to stay on and enrol onto the graduate programme in one years time.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I was the only summer intern on placement at BW, however in terms of feeling connected and having people to talk to that did not matter at all. Everyone is easy to get along with and keen for you to get involved with any sports or pub nights after work. The company put on UK wide sports events where other offices play against each other - a great way to get to know the team and meet people from other offices.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The Glasgow office is located in a very central area which is very easily accessible from Central Station so I was able to stay at home and commute to work for a relatively inexpensive amount. Glasgow is reasonably priced so I ended up spending a fair amount on sports nights after work, but overall did not find that anything was expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Glasgow is full of bars, with many located in a very close proximity to the office. There were many opportunities to socialise with people after work - one friday a month the office put on boardroom drinks which is a great chance for you to get to meet all your colleagues and usually leads to a night out afterwards.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The office are very big on sports and have weekly sports nights for anyone in the office to join. The regulars are five a side football and badminton, but it's purely dependent on what is organised by the people in the office. I was able to join both and was a great way to get to know people.