The placement was very enjoyable, I was able to go on client meetings with account managers which let me see first hand how the bank works with its customers and I got to meet a variety of people which was interesting. Working in the office was also generally enjoyable as the work was satisfying to do, but there were slow days as well.
I was welcomed and valued very well by my colleagues. I was included in impactful projects for the branch and I was invited to participate in team meetings. In addition, as I showed more of my skills to colleagues, I was relied upon more in doing various tasks which made me feel more valued as everyone got to know me.
My manager was very helpful throughout the internship. In my first week, he took me and another intern to a café to tell us about the history of the bank,its current situation, etc. Also, whenever I had a question or needed help I was quickly met with support from my manager and other colleagues.
Business varied from day to day. Some days were very busy with little time to breathe in between tasks, while other days were much slower in comparison. It was nice to see the contrast in how a work day can be, but it did get a bit boring on the slow days when there wasn't much for me to do and I couldn't help my colleagues with anything else.
I was given a fair amount of responsibility in regards to the tasks that were given to me. I was left to do them with my own judgement and checked in with my manager regarding their progress from time to time, but I feel like I still had room to take on more.
I had taken this internship after I had graduated. However, reflecting I can see that the skills learned had practical use and were good preparation for my future work. Some of what I did involved putting skills I learned at uni to practice and was further good preparation, however some tasks I did were unskilled.
The atmosphere was very welcoming and friendly. There was usually good office banter during the day, but when things picked up it became quieter as people began to become absorbed in their work, which wasn't bad in my opinion. Overall, I felt very comfortable with the atmosphere in the office.
The internship was had little structure overall. It started off well-organised with an induction day at the regional office, but at the branch-level where I was working, many tasks were ad-hoc. A couple long-term projects were prepared for me to spend most of my time on, but they didn't fill the day all the time and so a lot of time was spent doing various thing here and there.
Personal training consisted of a number of training courses and videos on the company's intranet which I had to complete at the start of my internship. This took about a week of sole focus on them to complete. Other than that, individual staff would take their time to teach me things as they came up.
Advancement in the company is largely self-driven, so motivated people will likely see success if they pursue a career in Handelsbanken which makes it quite appealing. However, the banking industry as a whole has become very regulated in recent years and therefore I'm not likely to choose a career in banking. It's difficult to answer, but if I were to pursue a career in banking, I would definitely choose Handelsbanken as the prospects are there, but the industry is losing its appeal to me personally.
There was none between interns. The way the bank is structured is for each individual branch to be relatively automatous, so it was difficult to see interns in other branches. Despite this, there was an induction day at the start of the internship for the entire region's interns where we got together to learn about the bank, but it was a formal work event rather than a social scene. There were two socials with colleagues which went on while I was at the branch - punting and bowling, however I was away while these took place so I couldn't attend.
Cambridge is one of the most expensive cities in the UK to live in. House prices are ridiculous and you can pay up to £5 for a pint in the city centre. If you're coming to stay here on your own then you'll need to be prepared to fork out a decent amount of money on living costs.
Cambridge nightlife is poor, but it gets the job done. We have a Revs which is standard, a stuffy club called Vinyl which does 70s-00s music which is OK, Lola's which is alright on a Wednesday (so you can't really go there while on placement), and a few other smaller clubs and that's about it really. On the other hand, if you like pubs then this is the place to be.
My internship was 3 months and there were 2 opportunities to do activities outside of work, and I imagine there'll be more as we get closer to the holiday season. Interns here on a longer placement would likely see more opportunities to do things out of the office than I did.
Internship (1-4 Months)
25th September 2019