UBS's insight program was useful in learning about various parts of the business. Despite the pandemic, the HR team did a great job and clearly did a lot of work to transform the program into something that worked with the remote format. There were adequate breaks and everyone was friendly.
We were given insight into many parts of the business mainly through presentations. The firm welcomed us well, especially given the circumstances. They clearly value their interns a lot and there is focus on progressing students from the spring week, to a summer internship / off-cycle internship / placement year and then into the graduate scheme. It would be cool if we could see more of exactly what people did day to day and people could give specific examples (e.g. like remote work shadowing) but appreciate lots of the stuff they deal with is confidential.
The team were great at providing support whenever necessary. They made the schedule and instructions clear, and were always happy to help and very understanding if you encountered technical issues with any of the software. Other UBS staff were very responsive to questions and answers them in detail, and some even followed up with answers over email to questions they didn't have time for during the session.
I'd say the skills on the insight week would not help me on my degree that much, however I was not looking for them to and I don't think that was the purpose of the insight week. The skills developed and information on the week would be extremely useful for future career planning and understanding the world of finance though.
The insight week was generally very well structured. Some sessions could perhaps be grouped slightly differently by business area, however it's likely down to the availability of staff, some of whom were very high ranking in the business so likely have packed schedules. No prior knowledge was assumed for the week, which made it easy to follow and get a huge amount of value from the week. Content was not repeated which was great so we could learn a lot more in the limited time and ask more interesting questions as the week progressed and we learnt more about the business.
It was a fun program and we were kept engaged throughout: being able to ask lots of questions, live quizzes, presenters asking us for our thoughts on stuff. As with any event some sessions were slightly less engaging than others, but this was also likely down to my own interests. I think importantly for a remote program we were encouraged to take breaks, and talk about non-work related stuff (water-cooler conversation e.g. what we had for lunch) - this definitely helped keep the energy up throughout and helped develop relationships as a form of informal networking.
Basically the entire program (as on all spring weeks really) was just personal training and development, as well as a bit of advertising their firm. A really great experience and opportunity. It's clear that UBS invests heavily in junior talent, and encourages students to come through the internship pipeline into graduate roles.
Staff were very forthcoming with details about their roles, and spent time answering a lot of questions for us. In one of the sessions someone detailed an example calendar for the day hour-by-hour which I found extremely valuable in really understanding what working in that business area would actually mean - I'd have liked to see similar things for other roles. Also it would have been cool to do some virtual work shadowing (e.g. with screen sharing/video calling) but I appreciate there was limited time to deal with the extreme circumstances, and handle all the confidentiality implications etc.
All of the program was spent training and developing us to understand the different business areas, what they did, how they delivered value for clients and what a career in them would look like. Additionally there was a session that explained the different routes into UBS as well as career advice for financial services in general.
I was not paid or reimbursed expenses, however as this program was fully remote I incurred no costs (everything was done on a laptop at home). I felt that this was fair as there were no costs to me (e.g. accomodation, travel, commuting, meals out) and the program was just UBS training us - we were not required to do any work except for learning stuff to benefit us.
We met many UBS employees although networking was difficult as it's very hard to do remotely without a lot of organisation. Obviously though this was completely understandable given that the program had to be adapted quickly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were given the names of people and encouraged to reach out on LinkedIn if we were interested though.
There weren't really any organised social events, although obviously this was completely understandable given that the program had to be adapted quickly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We did set up a WhatsApp group of people on the program though to stay in touch and chat less formally. I guess it could have been fun to have an optional lunch together over video call or something (this could have been something we could have organised as students ourselves in hindsight).