I thoroughly enjoyed my internship. I had an excellent line manager, which meant from day one I had a number of tasks and responsibilities set out for the 10 weeks' ahead. The internship was very varied, which kept work interesting: the tasks, the people involved and even the locations of doing work were all wonderfully varied.
Both professionally and socially, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by people that genuinely wanted to know what I had to say. Key stakeholders across my commercial banking team would often approach me with problems they faced, and asked for my opinion on how to tackle it. This attitude fostered a sense of being valued and commercially useful to the group.
My line manager was no more than a desk cluster away for most days, and even when agile-working only a phone call away. My manager would always have a formal catch up in the diary each week, but most of the time we would catch up over a pint each week. Extremely approachable, and eager to help when I asked for it.
I was given a good mix of both time-sensitive deadlines, and larger projects that required more thought and were, as such, less time-sensitive. I worked on a team that had a number of weekly business deadlines, and was given ownership of some of these weekly BAU tasks. As such, the start of the week would often be very busy as these tasks had to be completed on time. The back end of the week was reserved for work on longer (i.e. multiple week) projects. I rarely had to come in before 9/leave after 5 to finish the tasks I had been set, and when I did (maybe 5 times across the entire internship), I did it because I wanted to - not because I was asked to.
It is important to note that interns will never be "running the show". However, it is also important to note that you shouldn't just be left to scroll instagram all day. My line manager gave me as much responsibility as an intern can have. I was given business-critical tasks on a weekly basis that added significant value to the group, and had to be done to a consistently high standard.
Overall, the focus Lloyds puts on its work-life balance for employees has taught me how to better mix academic work and leisure time. Lloyds places great emphasis on the importance of taking regular breaks, changing scenery and working wherever you feel most comfortable (even if that is at home!) Yes - you heard that right. Most interns are offered the opportunity of working from home should they wish (dependent of course on the role and one's manager). The day-to-day role has improved my technological skills and business proficiency massively. I thought I was good at excel before starting my internship, but have improved enormously, as well as garnering new skills on powerful tools such as Tableau.
I worked in the Group's headquarters, but also spent time at their London satellite offices (all within walking distance of each other). All offices were extremely plush and modern high-rise - fantastic if you enjoy working in polished surroundings. My main office had a fantastic atmosphere. My floor was one which "hot-desked", meaning everyone works on whichever desks are available each day. This often means you're sat with different people from different areas of the commercial bank, and is fantastic for meeting new faces. Everyone in every office was always up for a chat.
Centrally, the Group is relatively good at the internship administration. Accommodation is provided at no cost if you are not within a commutable distance from home, which is a huge bonus for people like me who do not live in central London. However, the Group was often unclear at communicating important policies such as Graduate Recruitment. In fact, Lloyds drastically changed their graduate recruitment process - but only let interns know of the changes in the final fortnight of the internship. This particular announcement seemed haphazard, rushed and ill-timed. What's more, such changes should have been communicated well before the internship started, so that people could then take this into consideration when choosing which company to intern. So, room for improvement from a central group perspective here.
The Group deems personal and professional development to be extremely important, and as such all employees (interns included) are given full access to the Group's vast online learning suite. Hundreds of thousands of courses in everything from programming to presenting skills are available through the medium of video and online tasks, and are genuinely of excellent quality. What's more, my line manager was particularly helpful in helping me achieve some of my personal development goals. These included my manager specifically giving me tasks that involved public presenting - something I wanted to specifically work on and improve.
The Group offers a vast and varied graduate programme that comprises of 4 6-month rotations, each based in a different location across the UK. This should be especially appealing to those that want the opportunity to explore and travel. Interns who are successful at demonstrating their employability to their line managers are fast-tracked for consideration of a place on the graduate scheme. Lloyds' culture is extremely relaxed in comparison to other financial institutions.
There is usually a good social scene, as most interns are placed in the same accommodation site. So, if going out and meeting new people is up your street, then you'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere as good as interning at Lloyds in this regard. However, the downside to this is that if you are not living in accommodation, I imagine it is easy to feel left out.
It's central London - you just have to accept that a pint will cost you north of £6.00 in most places. However, there are always chain pubs knocking around (*you know what I mean*). In fact, there was one such chain pub within walking distance of the accommodation that Lloyds provides at Angel - you could easily pick a pint up here for £2.50. Not bad for Zone 2.
Central London might be expensive, but nightlife is among the best in the world. Student nights still carry on through the summer, so entry to some world-class clubs can be no more than £10 on a weeknight. Equally, cocktail bars and classic London pubs are everywhere - granted, drinks aren't cheap, but you've got to accept that you're also paying for the atmosphere.
Each team across commercial banking at Lloyds have designated "social reps" that are in charge of getting events in the diary. From summer picnics and champagne in London's parks, to after-work drinks at cool bars and pubs, the opportunities for getting out with work colleagues are always available for you to go along to. What's more, people genuinely make a special effort to get interns going out with them - colleagues really enjoy your company.