1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
From the induction day at the very start it was clear I was going to enjoy this internship! The work was extremely varied and I was made to feel a valued and important member of the team. The support in place, be it through my own team or the early careers department, was second to none.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I immediately felt welcomed and valued into my team, being handed 3 big projects with significant importance not only to my team but to the firm as a whole. On top of this, a team lunch in the first week made me feel immediately like I was fully part of the team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The support network at Standard Life Aberdeen throughout my internship was incredible. My manager made it clear that I could approach her at any time with any questions and my wider team were readily available. No question was deemed stupid and I was encouraged to ask as many as I could as well as to challenge any existing processes in place.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I would say I had nearly a perfect balance. The work was mostly project based which meant I could plan accordingly and know how busy/free I was going to be, which meant I could always ask for additional work if needed. I was also able to secure enough spare time to fit in catch ups with 30+ colleagues across the business.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I feel that the responsibility I was given as an intern far exceeded my expectations. On day 1 it was made clear to me by my team that a couple of the big pieces of work I received were business critical and would have wider impacts overall. The output of one project was used to install big changes in the structure of some of the firms biggest funds.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills I developed, be it through on the desk work or through the structured skills training ran by the early careers department, were pivotal to my future success. I use the technical skills to this very day in my current job at the firm and the soft skills - including presentation workshops - have improved my overall skills in these areas.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It was a great mix of fun and seriousness, which created an environment where the work felt/is really important but you can also freely chat to your team. Everyone of my colleagues was extremely welcoming and everyone had a spare 15/30 minutes to chat, catch up and give careers advice.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Incredibly well organised. The internship was structured in a way that allowed us to get the most out of our 10 weeks. Work was balanced alongside training sessions, after work socials and - of real importance to me - a dedicated volunteer day to allow us to give back to the community.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
From the very first day it was clear that we were seen as incredibly important assets to the firm and thus the investment in us was second to none. Training courses, from Excel to presentations, provided further proof that the firm wanted to get the best out of us. The overall ethos at SLA is that interns/graduates are future leaders and it truly does feel that way.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I was fortunate enough to roll straight off the internship programme and onto the graduate scheme. The opportunity to work full time at SLA was one that didn’t even take a second to say yes to. The support and training I received in my internship has increased 10 fold since I begun the graduate scheme, confirming that this a fantastic place to work.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
100%! Most of the interns lived in the accommodation provided by SLA. I did not but felt immediately welcomed by everyone and from the very first day we had a fantastic social life (which definitely feels encouraged by the firm!) Whether it be meeting for lunch or after work drinks, the social side to the internship was fantastic.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Edinburgh isn’t the cheapest city to head out in but it certainly was do-able. For the guys living in the provided accommodation, living expenses were reduced significantly and this is certainly one of the biggest perks of the intern programme. When money got tight we could all rely on the trusty Wetherspoons for a good night of socialising!
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Edinburgh has everything to offer with its nightlife, from rnb/hip hop clubs, 3 different Wetherspoons within a mile or karaoke bars, it certainly is a city with something for everyone
The bar next door to work gave discount to employees of SLA which was an additional bonus throughout the internship.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
So many opportunities. The aforementioned volunteering day was just one of the chances to get involved in out of work activities. I also played for one of the firms football teams in a business summer league and I know that some of the other interns also had similar opportunities. And if there isn’t an activity that takes your fancy I have no doubt that you could always suggest your own.