I enjoyed my internship a lot. The team and project I ended up on corresponded quite closely to my interests. It was clear that the company had put thought into matching the commercial interns to roles that suited what we'd expressed in our interviews. The environmental factors were also good: I got along well with the other interns, the atmosphere in the office was relaxed, and Cambridge is a nice town.
Although I was on the sales floor, the project I was working on was a research project aimed at management. The time horizon was also long term, much longer than the length of my internship - because of that, I was somewhat removed from the day to day goings on of the floor, and most of my colleagues weren't really aware of what I was doing. That said, my manager and Business Intelligence, whom we were collaborating with, were very enthusiastic about our project, which was positive.
My manager had a very 'low touch' approach to supervision, which worked well for me because I enjoyed being able to pursue things independently. That caused some problems at the start, when expectations hadn't been clearly defined, which meant our first few weeks of work weren't as productive as I had hoped. However, after the initial difficulties were overcome, it was a great balance of guidance and freedom. My manager was very approachable and always willing to give support or advice.
Because of the nature of my project, I relied on other people's availability heavily - I had to schedule in interviews, wait for feedback, and so forth. Because of this dependency, some of my days were painfully slow, and others were very busy. I would have preferred a more constant level of activity, but waiting is an important ancillary skill in research, so in that sense even the variance of my schedule was a valuable learning experience.
Again, due to the longer-term nature of my project, I wasn't having much direct impact, which makes this question tricky to assess. However, I did get a lot of time from the sales team for the interviews, as well as collaboration from senior management, which is definitely a sign that my work was valued. It's tricky to say, since my internship ended before the project came to fruition, but based on the time I was given, I would say I had a fair level of responsibility. I was also completely in charge of the project's execution along with the other intern on my team, and even had a strong say in goal-setting, so in that sense the responsibility I had was good.
One of the advantages of having so much control over the project execution is that I was able to focus on those skills I wanted to improve or found interesting. Because of that, I got to practice research skills relevant to my degree and my interests. And I think if I hadn't been interested in research, I would have been able to point the project in another direction. Additionally, because everyone in the company is so approachable, it was easy to find someone very skilled in a specific area, even if my manager or department weren't. The skills I developed at Redgate will definitely help me in the future.
The atmosphere was relaxed and casual. My favourite thing about it is that I was treated as a responsible adult - I was expected to do good work, but I was never supervised strictly or anything like that. Also, we had table football and table tennis, unlimited coffee, tea, and cereal, and a generous lunch break.
This was the first year Redgate's done commercial internships, so the organisation was certainly lacklustre. I didn't know what my project was going to be until a week before the internship itself, and then the project ended up pivoting pretty significantly, since our original brief turned out to be impracticable. But the interns in the product team seemed to have a very well organised internship, so I have every confidence that if the commercial internship continues, it will improve in the same way.
There weren't many formal resources - we watched online training modules in our first week, and everyone was always very accessible for any questions. I had two formal one-to-ones with my manager over the course of the ten weeks. In the first one we went over expectations and what we wanted to get out of the internship, and in the second how well that had been achieved.
Working from home
Redgate only typically hires graduates in a few areas - one of them is what I'm interested in, so I would consider coming back for that. But some of the other interns, who were interested in other areas, would have had a hard time getting hired into those departments. But it's a great company, and if I had been interested in those areas in which they do hire graduates, I would have definitely considered returning.
The social scene was very good, I got along well with the other interns, and the company employees were also very friendly. We went out at least once a week together. Also, the strategically placed coffee machines and cereal bars do encourage socialisation as well. There were also videogames and board games in the product division, a library, and musical instruments. Plenty of opportunities to meet new people/make friends.
Cambridge is rather expensive, but between the wages and the subsidised food, it was never a problem.
The business park in which Redgate is located is about a 40 minute walk/short cycle away from most interesting things (the city centre). But the nightlife in the city centre is good, plenty of nice pubs and such.
Cambridge as a town does have a good mix of things to do, ranging from cultural activities to 'cultural' activities. London is also close enough that a weekend trip is entirely reasonable.
Internship (1-4 Months)
5th September 2019