Absolutely enjoyed this placement year. I worked in the ITS department at Schlumberger Cambridge Research. Right from the start, I felt welcome and going by the nature of my role, I interacted with almost everyone on the site. I felt like I was part of a community and my department helped me grow in many aspects. My placement year was a year full of exciting challenges and opportunities that were very rewarding and I left with fond memories and good friends and connections.
Right from the start I felt like an important member of my department. I am sure everyone on site will agree when I say that the interns are treated and valued just like the employees and our work does affect the company. I initially expected to get projects that didn't affect anyone except my personal growth but the kind of projects I got to work on directly affected the Cambridge site and the company as well. I was quickly integrated into the company ethos and my learning and work over time was well recognised, presented to higher up members of staff, and rewarded as well.
I felt that the kind of guidance/support given was well balanced. They did not expect an expert to walk in on the first day and so I got a fairly allotted period of learning. However, at the same time I was also expected to deliver to a certain standard. I never felt that I was being overworked and I enjoyed every bit of working with my manager.
Working in the ITS department meant that you would almost always have projects to work on. If not, there would always be people coming to you for help. This meant that I was pretty much busy throughout the day. However, I was able to dedicate enough time to work and to breathe through the day. This does not mean that I was overworked, but that I was trusted with projects they knew I could work on and this just goes on to show how valued I felt.
In terms of training, there was adequate support given by my manager and the intern I replaced but there was always the aspect of self learning that impacted most of my work. Given this, I was trusted with work with regards to how much I was trusted by my manager and members of staff. This was built over time with the nature and number of projects I got to work on over the year. All this just goes on to say that responsibility is there if you are willing to go for it.
I got to work on a lot of other technologies surrounding web services, conferencing solutions, business intelligence, and data analytics. The skills I developed and the concepts I learnt whilst working directly impact my degree studies as I will be using them in most of my modules and final year thesis.
Generally speaking, everyone was warm and welcoming every single day at work. There are events organised by the social club almost always, whether its on site or outside. These events foster a culture where everyone gets to know each other at work. Of course, when it comes to work everyone has a serious attitude towards it but they value both aspects of life and the overall wellbeing of each member on site is well looked after. All in all, I looked forward to going to work every day.
It was really well organised. Right from the application stage, the number of steps for the recruitment process is made known to you and it is not long and extensive like many companies do. Schlumberger has a history of recruiting interns for placement years so they know what they are doing and everything is planned well in advance. When it comes to work, the structure is well set up and you know where or who to go to for almost anything as signposting is done pretty well here.
Given the agile nature of the ITS department, there is direct contact everyday with the department and that shows the kind of investment they made in my growth by assigning me with projects with timelines that accounted for a learning curve and delivery period. Besides this, events such as CV/Interview workshops were organised for us which was great as it was quite insightful. Other events such as peer reviews and presentations helped us with our skills in those areas.
There is a fresh-out scheme that we are encouraged to apply for. At the Cambridge site you do get to see people who were interns at some point and that is a good thing to see. They are encouraging us to come back to the company as it is doing well in the market nowadays. However, it comes down to us keeping an eye on opportunities within the company and applying to them when we can.
We started off at about 10 interns which grew in number as few others joined in on short term or summer placements. Throughout the year, we all felt like a group that got on really well with each other. We all had similar enough interests to get on with activities throughout the week and on the weekends which ensured that we left our placement year with really good friends :)
If you're not a student at one of the Cambridge universities, then unfortunately it will get expensive for you. There are a few pubs that offer food and drinks at cheap prices (or with student discounts), but a lot of restaurants or food joints can get expensive. The cost of living looks like London prices if you're looking to live in the city centre, so options are limited. However, the company is willing to help you look at options better even though they don't officially recommend any agency/landlord.
If you're looking at pubs, then there are a good few. If you're looking for clubs, then you probably won't find many that would interest you. The Wetherspoons in the city turns into a nighclub on weekends, if that interests you. But all being said, with the right company of people by you, any night out in Cambridge can be fun
Every Friday and/or on football game nights a good number of us interns would go out to pubs. Besides this, the social club at work organised events such as foot golf, bowling, Christmas lunch and party, BBQ events, etc. Later on in the year we got to organise our own football tournament which was a lot of fun.