1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I very much enjoyed my placement at the Bank of England. I was given the opportunity to work on a range of high profile, interesting projects. Colleagues at the Bank were always willing to have a coffee and teach me new things. I would recommend the placement year but it helps to know which department you would like to go into.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
For the majority of the time, I felt valued by my colleagues. At the beginning of the placement, I often felt like a bit of a burden as everyone else in the team was quite experienced. Because of this, I made use of the training which the Bank offers and volunteered to work on other projects in order to get more exposure. By the end of my placement, I was treated the same as any other team member.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The level of support and guidance I received depended heavily on the team I was in and who my supervisor was. I am someone who learns better by doing rather than by reading/listening. I found it useful to seek guidance from a range of colleagues rather than just from my specific supervisor.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I occasionally had some tight deadlines but never really found that I was too busy at work. However, this may have been because I got better at managing my time as the placement progressed. Sometimes I found there were too many redundant meeting. Other times I found that there was a lot of duplication of work.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I believe I was given quite a lot of responsibility for a placement student. I presented to, and worked alongside, several Executive Directors and Head of Divisions within the Bank. I also met with executives from banks several times. Regularly, I was writing reports which were viewed by senior colleagues within the Bank and by a range of stakeholders outside the Bank.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I feel that I greatly developed a range of skills. This includes my IT skills, presenting skills, and general interpersonal skills. I found that the thing I improved on most was my ability to simplify complex information in order to brief senior management. By the end of my placement, after undertaking a range of training which the Bank offered, I felt fully confident in my abilities at work and knew better how I could improve in future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was pretty good most of the time. The offices are quite open plan. This is good, in that it is quite easy to find someone who you need to speak to. However, it can get a bit loud as sound quickly travels throughout the floor. Generally, people were fairly friendly and happy although this varied massively by department.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The work placement was set up OK. I knew which team I was joining before I arrived and was briefed by a team member via telephone. However, some of the placement related deadlines, such as doing my performance review, was not made clear. Towards the end of placement, we were also told that graduate job offers would not be made until January (rather than September). It would be good to have more formalised training for placement students, as some teams expect you to quickly hit the ground running.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There were plenty of training and development courses offered by the Bank. The only problem was finding time to do them. It would be good if each placement student was allotted some time for training by HR each month to help with their development. It was also clear that graduates get more invested in them, though this makes sense as they will be at the Bank for at least two years.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The graduate scheme looks pretty good. You can either undertake the Central Banking Qualification or get sponsored to undertake other qualifications (e.g. the CFA). There are many different departments within the Bank focusing on many different things, so there is something for everyone. However, once you reach a certain level, you will probably need to gain some private sector experience in order to advance in the Bank.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was a very good social scene amongst the placement students whilst I was there. Most of us got along well and we regularly went out for drinks and meals together. I played football with some of the other placements and did boxing with some of my colleagues. Everyone was pretty sound.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
It's London. The cost of living is abnormally high but the placement salary still allowed me to live a very comfortable lifestyle, especially compared to student life. I know some placement students who saved £5k-£10k. I wouldn't factor in the cost of living and socialising when making a decision about where you want to work.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There were plenty of pubs and bars around the Bank where you could go for a drink after work. Most colleagues will make at least a few appearances every month. In London generally, the nightlife offers something for everyone. Some people liked to travel beyond the City for their nightlife.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. For example, I organised a day for my team to volunteer at a local farm in London. Some colleagues visited schools and universities around the UK to answer questions about the role of the Bank of England. There were also opportunities to participate in various sports.