Learnt more in the last year than in the previous 2 years of University. Learning curve was steep and enjoyable, and my work in Technology Development was a nice mixture of Applied Physics, Material Science and Electrical Engineering. It was not all rainbows and unicorns of course, but I learnt so many valuable (and marketable!) skills that it was certainly well worth it.
Extremely. The people I worked with most closely in the SMT Research and Development department were seasoned, experienced scientists and engineers who lead the world in their profession. Several of them made considerable time (on the order of several hundred hours over the course of the placement) to answer any question I had, tutor me in highly technical and specialised subjects such as superconductivity and finite element analysis and act as mentors when navigating the corporate landscape. In addition, the group of interns and graduates in my year was absolutely incredible - I have made several friends for life.
To a great extent. My line manager was friendly, highly competent both technically and inter-personally. Several of the senior personnel became my mentors on different technical topics and invariably treated me with respect and valued my opinion. On many occasions, discussions about issues, or investigations grew very heated (as they should - science is supposed to be a full-contact sport), but never was my opinion dismissed out of hand, or ignored because of my junior status.
Difficult to rate this on the star rating system... I was kept very, very, very busy - the learning curve was extremely steep, especially at the beginning. However, in my case, that was precisely the major source of value and enjoyment on the placement - I was not coddled and micromanaged or sent to fetch coffee for the managers. I was fully thrown in the deep end and told to swim - and I loved it! Full support was provided quickly and kindly when I asked for it, but I was the driving force behind both my tasks and my learning.
A huge amount. Me and another student from Bath were heavily involved in a new product introduction for which we completed many highly advanced engineering tasks, ranging from modelling, to design modification to material testing. I was put in sole charge of a technology development project that ran over the course of the year and indeed continues, having been handed over to my successor. Many smaller, off-line investigations were put under my sole purview. I do not mean to suggest I did any of these things single-handed, but I was the driving force, the "owner" as Siemens calls it, ultimately responsible for delivering results.
Massively. The skills I developed at Siemens include experience with cryogenics, low-temperature condensed matter physics and superconducting magnets which are all very useful should I chose to pursue a PhD. FE modelling and proficiency with material testing is essential in almost every engineering industry in the world. LabVIEW and other software is used for instrumentation and diagnostics by everyone from SpaceX and NASA to Lockheed and Boeing. I was also involved in the legal side of research, looking at NDAs, Development Agreements and patents (as well as more general IP protecting issues), all eminently useful int he real world.
Very friendly, never had any problems getting along with anyone. All were highly competent and open, never had trouble getting help when I needed it. The workforce in my office itself was however quite aged, on average at least twice my age, so most of my mates came from elsewhere in the factory.
Very well organised in terms of the work. There were some administrative issues at the beginning with IT accounts and swipe-card access which were very annoying and caused delays, but once they were sorted out, things were mostly seamless. It is important to note that I was not really treated like an intern. In fact apart from some off-site training day on the Intern Development Programme, I was like any other more senior physicist or engineer - people from other departments were often very surprised when I told them I was an intern, because my work was very similar to a full R and D tech developer.
Formally, the Siemens Intern Development program was useful and interesting, despite the fact that it was geared more towards the corporate-type internships, rather than the technical side which I actually care about. Informally however, as I mentioned before, there were literally hundreds of hours spent learning one-on-one from highly experienced engineers and physicists. This was not formally structured and was always initiated by me, but the time was always taken to ensure I did not flounder. I gained absolutely invaluable experience which will no doubt help with anything I do in the future.
Above 25 days holiday
Very. Should the right position come up, I would strongly consider going for it. I am however at the moment quite likely to continue in academia with a doctoral programme so full time employment with them is likely to be quiet a way off. I do however plan to come back next summer for several months to see how my tech development project has progressed.
Definitely! During most of the year, one girl in particular took the initiative and organised a variety of events which were always fun (9.9/10 social sec SHubs). Pub after work was a regular feature on a Friday and a group of us even hired a house out in the country for an extended weekend after a training event.
Unfortunately, Oxfordshire is very expensive. My rent was considerably more expensive than at Uni, cheapest pint nearby was 4 quid (and usually around a fiver) and buses are even more expensive than in Bath (where we all complain about them constantly...) . Nightlife in Oxford is pretty good, though again, very pricey if youre drinking out.
Not a massive fan of nightclubs, though I did go a few times. Expensive, but pretty good. More of a bar/pub kind of guy and those are excellent in Oxford if you know where to go (I had excellent local guides from the factory - shout out to Big Gorts). Cocktail bars are especially good if you like that sort of thing (though be prepared to spend 50 quid if youre buying a round...)
Yes, Siemens perks at work offers discounts on various things like Premiership Rugby matches and cinema tickets. Only took advantage once for the cinema because I was badly organised... As mentioned before, endless activities organised informally by the interns and graduates themselves. There were several activities run by the fitness people as well such as boxing, circuit training and yoga.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
12th September 2019