6-week Summer Internship with the Association of British Insurers
Paid London Living Wage, accrued holiday pay of 3 days.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
This internship was a great opportunity to learn more about the considerations and priorities of financial institutions in the City! Because there is a very small intake of interns and a relatively lengthy working period (6 weeks), I was given a great deal of responsibility, which I really valued. The people at the ABI were also very lovely - everyone was extremely friendly and willing to speak to me and help out where I needed it, and I found myself welcomed, and fitting in very easily.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued by my colleagues. The fact that they were so willing to help me with my projects where I needed them, and hand me the responsibility of completing the projects and being the go-to expert on certain topics showed that they trusted me, which I appreciated. We also went out to lunch several times together, and they were extremely friendly, but also genuine and open about their lives outside of work, showing how human they really were.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was given a lot of support when I needed it - I was able to ask any questions, whether they were related to my project or to related topics in the policy adviser's or manager's field. It was very easy to turn to the person beside me and have my question answered instantly - they were very receptive!
At the same time, my supervisors gave my autonomy to take my project in any direction I wanted, as long as the objective was completed, and I valued that autonomy and responsibility that they gave!
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was definitely kept busy on my projects for the majority of my internship. These projects were individual to me, but I also liaised with several colleagues in the firm and several external ABI members to gather knowledge around the area of my project.
Once I had finished my project, I found that being keen and willing to take on more benefitted me greatly. My manager was very receptive when I offered to complete more tasks for them, and I was delegated more responsibility accordingly.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As I have mentioned in my other comments, I was given a lot of responsibility during the internship. I was responsible not only for completing my project, but also for making decisions on its direction, its scope, and my actions to complete it. I was also given the opportunity to contact external clients, take part in 1-to-1 client meetings and telephone calls, and make a presentation to clients. This showed the willingness of the firm to offer responsibility to those that they believed were capable.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As I wish to pursue a role in the City, this internship gave me valuable insight into the priorities and considerations of different bodies within the City. By working in policy, I was able to explore how different firms (banks, pension managers, investment managers, insurance companies) weighed different considerations and issues in advocating for policy changes. The commercial awareness I developed will no doubt be helpful in my future career pursuits.
I also personally developed transferrable skills such as confidence, organisation/time management skills, and the ability to think critically.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Extremely friendly, but also very hard working. There were many socials going on, and everyone was very relaxed in the kitchen and at lunch, but you can tell that every person there is an expert in their field, and extremely intelligent & knowledgeable about both their policy areas and general worldly issues.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I was part of the first set of summer interns to come through the office. There were a few teething issues, and there might have been some inequality between the quality of one internship over another because we were placed in different teams/policy areas, and thus had different projects and levels of responsibility. That's definitely something that I've fed back to HR, and hopefully something that will be worked on in the future!
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The firm didn't invest formal training and development, apart from a few induction sessions with each of the policy areas in the organisation. However, there were numerous "all-staff presentations" on topics such as introducing the new ministerial government, Brexit and Parliamentary processes, and Pensions Awareness, which really helped with my general knowledge.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would definitely come back to the ABI if the opportunity arose! Positions seem quite competitive, as the office is quite small, but the people are great, and if anything, it's a stepping stone and a great network of people willing to help!
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Definitely! We always had lunch together and every was genuinely open to discussions about anything! There were also frequent after-work drinks and socials.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Since it's in the City, it's expected that the cost of living is high. Eating out for lunch will cost around 5-7 quid, unless you get a meal deal. But there's lots of options around, and everyone's very willing to socialise. There's also an area to sit and eat with colleagues in the office if you bring your own lunch.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
We went for after-work drinks, but never stayed out too late. The City is a financial hub, less prominent for nightlife. But that should be expected, really.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Definitely. The ABI has a choir and a running club that meets weekly, and they host several socials every month.